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UN chief condemns escalating violence and civilian attacks in Myanmar – Global Issues

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UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the Secretary-General “strongly condemns” the recent attacks by Myanmar’s military in Rakhine State and the Sagaing region, which have reportedly claimed the lives of many civilians.

The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the increasing regional consequences of the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and reiterates its call for a joint approach,” said Mr Dujarric.

Conflict in Myanmar

In Myanmar’s Rakhine State, violence between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army has increased, leaving tens of thousands homeless.

Many of the attacks reportedly targeted the Muslim Rohingya minority community, which has been settled in Rakhine for generations but has been denied full citizenship. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from there to Bangladesh in 2017 after persecution by government forces.

During the attacks, some members of this community suffered beheadings and the burning of their homes. Recent data from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) revealed that approximately 226,000 people from this community have been uprooted as a result of the violence who need resettlement.

In fact, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had previously reported cases of “shooting at unarmed fleeing villagers‘ and disappearances in Myanmar.

The country is now recognized as one hunger hotspot where “acute food insecurity is likely to worsen further in the coming months.”

Being held accountable

Mr Dujarric said that recent incidents “targeting ethnic Rakhine in western Myanmar, and the continued persecution of the Rohingya, underlines the need to protect all communities.”

He said aerial bombardments and human rights violations continue to be reported in many parts of Myanmar and that “those responsible must be held accountable.”

He further said that the Secretary-General “calls on all parties to the conflict to exercise maximum restraint, prioritize the protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law and avoid further incitement to communal tensions and violence.”

Mr Dujarric said the Secretary-General urged Member States and stakeholders support his newly appointed special envoy, Julie Bishop while working to promote lasting peace through close cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and neighboring countries.

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