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UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ about increasing violence in Myanmar

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern Thursday for the increasing conflict in Myanmar.

“The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the increasing violence across Myanmar and strongly condemns the recent attacks by the Myanmar military that have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including in Rakhine State and Sagaing Region,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

The Tatmadaw, as the Myanmar military is known, is struggling to contain the nationwide biggest armed resistance since it seized power in 2021.

Since October, the Tatmadaw has suffered personnel losses while battling a coordinated offensive known as ‘Operation 1027’ by an alliance of three ethnic insurgent groups, ‘Three Brotherhood Alliance’. Apart from that ‘People’s Defence Forces’ formed after the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government who have launched renewed attacks against the junta.

Guterres emphasized the urgent need to protect all communities, noting ongoing human rights violations and indiscriminate aerial bombings.

“Those responsible must be held to account,” noted the statement.

“The Secretary-General calls on all parties to the conflict to exercise maximum restraint, prioritize protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law,” it said, urging all to “prevent further incitement of communal tension and violence.”

Guterres highlighted the regional implications of Myanmar’s deteriorating situation and called for a unified international response.

He urged support for his Special Envoy Julie Bishop to help build an inclusive Myanmar-led process toward sustainable peace, in cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and neighboring countries.

The majority of Rohingya fled a brutal military crackdown in Rakhine State in 2017. Most are housed in overcrowded camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, but since late 2020, about 35,000 have been relocated to the island of Bhasan Char.

By Navalsang Parmar (Dhaka)

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Last Updated: 18th Jun 2024