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UN rapporteur for Myanmar: Thailand taking hard look at situation

By Ye Kaung Myint Maung for RFA Burmese

March 19, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, is set to present his latest report on the strife-torn country to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday. 

Andrews, who spoke to BenarNews affiliate Radio Free Asia (RFA) last week before he was to head to the council’s headquarters in Geneva, will be giving an account of the situation in Myanmar since the junta announced in early February that it was activating conscription.

The Southeast Asian country has been mired in conflict since a military coup in February 2021 ousted a civilian government, and this move represents “the latest evidence of the desperation of the military junta,” Andrews told RFA Burmese. 

He said the junta was losing troops and territory and that’s the reason they activated compulsory military service – so they can replenish their troops – he said, adding, “[i]t’s not going to work.”

“First of all, we know that the lines before the Thai embassy, for example, of people trying to get visas to get out are significant,” he said in a reference to Thailand that shares a frontier with Myanmar.

“We know that people are looking for any and every way out of the country,” he added.

For Thailand, meanwhile, Andrews said, a lot is at stake, because it has a long border with Myanmar, including close to the conflict areas.

“And I think that Thailand is taking a hard look at this situation,” he said.

In this context, RFA asked Andrews in an interview about his participation in a seminar about Myanmar that was hosted by the parliament of Thailand in early March. 

Excerpts of Ye Kaung Myint Maung’s interview with Tom Andrews:

Radio Free Asia: You recently participated in a seminar about Myanmar hosted by the parliament of Thailand. Can you share some insight about that seminar?

Tom Andrews: I was very impressed. … It was a very thoughtful discussion of the issues facing the people of Myanmar, the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, and the fact that it was held, you know, at Parliament House was, I think, a very important sign and very practical to invite a number of people with different perspectives and ideas to bring those ideas forward and exchange them in an open forum.

I think it was a very positive thing. … And the chair of this committee that held this hearing was very thoughtful, looking to see how to build a much stronger position between Thailand and Myanmar and build for a future.



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