Urge Myanmar to suspend hostility amid Covid-19
According to media reports, the UN Security Council European member states and Britain on Thursday denounced violence in Myanmar and expressed concern over the Coronavirus pandemic in the country in a document which China refused to endorse. Britain expressed its concern and stated that the conflict has already led to a spike in internal displacement, restrictions on humanitarian access while increasing in human casualties.
In tuned with Britain, other EU members like Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany expressed similar concern and urged an immediate comprehensive and nationwide ceasefire. Moreover they emphasized the importance of an inclusive response to the Covid-19 pandemic that protects all communities and takes into account the vulnerability of refugees and internally displaced persons. It is truly disappointing to note that in the midst of a global pandemic - Myanmar's north-western states have become engaged in an increasingly brutal civil war between the military and Arakan Army rebels - demanding more autonomy for the region's ethnic Rakhine state.
However, China's refusal to endorse the atrocities is not at all justified. We have previously witnessed how China backed Myanmar and opposed UN intervention from adopting a joint statement by the 15 Council members in last February meeting. China's repeated opposition is not expected as the country continues to deepen a manmade humanitarian crisis in the south-Asian region.
At the very moment Covid-19 has spread in 215 countries and Myanmar is one of them. The country has 181 confirmed infected cases and 6 deaths. Despite so many international calls the Myanmar military did not pay any heed. And therefore a bleak consequence may yet to come as thousands of people have been displaced by the conflicts. It is expected that overcrowded displaced persons camps are "tinderboxes" for disease.
The need of the minute is to make a quick decision which can help to combat the current corona crisis collectively. The Myanmar govt seems to be addressing the pandemic whimsically but that could invite another easily avoidable catastrophe.
On that note, in April, a WHO health worker was killed when a UN marked vehicle was ambushed as they carried Covid-19 test samples in conflict-ridden Rakhine state. However, no party claimed responsibility. A full and transparent investigation has been demanded by the secretary general. Nevertheless this furtive attitude is markedly annoying while the entire world has been held hostage to a deadly virus.
This apocalyptic situation needs global solidarity among all the nations. We hope that Myanmar soon will realise its flaws and move away from all hostile behaviours.