UN chief warns 'urgent' international response needed in Myanmar

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (File Photo)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (File Photo)

New York [US], October 1 (ANI): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that an "urgent" international response is needed to prevent the crisis in Myanmar from becoming a "catastrophe" in the heart of Southeast Asia and beyond.

Guterres conveyed this message in a report to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday, UN News reported. Guterres also said he feared that the military's grip on power would become increasingly difficult to counter.

The country has been in a state of crisis since Myanmar's military leadership ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1. According to the UN High Commission, more than 1,100 people died, over 8000 arrested and at least 120 reportedly died in custody.

"The risk of a large-scale armed conflict requires a collective approach to prevent a multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Southeast Asia and beyond," the UN chief added.

"Grave humanitarian implications, including rapidly deteriorating food security, an increase in mass displacements and a weakened public health system compounded by a new wave of Covid-19 infections, require a coordinated approach in complementarity with regional actors."

To put "Myanmar back on the path to democratic reform,", it was "urgent to mount a unified international and regional response," said the UN chief. He said it was imperative to restore Myanmar's constitutional order and uphold the results of the November 2020 election.

He stressed neighbouring countries could leverage their influence over the military to have it "respect the will of the people and to act in the greater interest of peace and stability in the country and region."

UN chief also called for "immediate humanitarian access and assistance, especially to vulnerable communities".

The window to prevent the military from entrenching its rule "could be narrowing" Guterres continued, before insisting that it was important to support "the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar".

The report, covering the period from mid-August 2020 to mid-August 2021, was approved by 119 countries, with 36 abstaining, including China, and one, Belarus, voting against it, UN News reported. (ANI)

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