United Nations: About 10,000 refugees have fled from Myanmar to India and Thailand as nationwide clashes in the country led to “acute” new displacements of hundreds of thousands of civilians, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar has said, warning that the regional threat of the crisis is real.
“In my daily contacts with stakeholders in Myanmar, I hear first-hand accounts about the dire situation. People suffer from deprivation, have no hope and live in fear,” Christine Schraner Burgener, Special Envoy of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Myanmar, told the UN General Assembly on Friday.
In the absence of international action, civilians are forming people’s defence forces, she said. They use self-made weapons and receive military training from ethnic armed organisations in their resistance grounded on democratic solidarity. Multiple regions of the country which have not seen armed clashes in decades become zones of significant unrest.
“Nationwide clashes, including in central Myanmar and regions bordering China, India and Thailand, have led to acute new displacements of around 1,75,000 civilians, and some 10,000 refugees have fled to India and Thailand. The regional threat of the crisis is real,” she said, adding that “we must continue to call for maximum restraint and condemn all forms of violence. The risk of a large-scale civil war is real.”
Burgener emphasised that as the region faces a multi-dimensional crisis in the heart of Asia, “our timely support and action is paramount”.
She also stressed that the international community must not forget the Rohingya people as the situation of the Rohingya remains dire and the General Assembly must continue to be seized on the issue as an integral part of its engagement on Myanmar.
“Highlighting persistent challenges, Rohingya continue undertaking risky journeys across the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea,” Burgener said.
The UN General Assembly adopted the draft resolution ‘The situation in Myanmar’ on Friday with 119 member states, including Myanmar, voting in favour.
Belarus was the sole country voting against the resolution, while 36 nations abstained. The nations which abstained from voting include Myanmar’s neighbours – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Lao, Nepal and Thailand. Russia also abstained.
India abstained on the General Assembly resolution, saying its views have not been reflected in the draft, which did not get support even from Myanmar’s neighbouring countries and New Delhi does not believe the resolution, tabled hastily, is conducive to “aiding our joint efforts towards strengthening democratic process” in Myanmar.