UN envoy urges inclusive ASEAN approach to Myanmar crisis
The United Nations (UN) special envoy to Myanmar has called on Southeast Asian nations to support international efforts to engage all sides to the conflict in Myanmar in order to find a peaceful solution to the escalating violence in the country.
Noeleen Heyzer, Myanmar's new envoy, made the appeal at a Thursday virtual meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the new chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who traveled to Myanmar last week to meet the country's military ruler.
Heyzer sought progress in a stalled five-point peace plan, the UN said in a statement, adding that "The special envoy advocated for confidence-building measures involving all stakeholders, in addition to ethnic armed organizations."
Hun Sen visited junta leader Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday to revive peace efforts following last year’s military coup. The visit provoked an angry backlash among critics, who said he is legitimizing the army’s seizure of power.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1. Suu Kyi and several other senior figures from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been in detention over election fraud allegations. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have held numerous protests against the coup leaders in the Southeast Asian country, demanding the release of Suu Kyi and the other detainees.
The military junta has used lethal force against unarmed civilians, which has drawn widespread backlash. The junta's brutal crackdown on dissent has left more than 1,400 people dead, according to activists cited by the UN.
Myanmar's military forces were also involved in a campaign of genocide against Muslim Rohingya that started in 2017.
The conflict has caused discord within ASEAN about how to deal with Myanmar.