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UN must start treating Myanmar crisis with  urgency

Published : Sunday, 21 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 158

UN must start treating Myanmar crisis with  urgency

UN must start treating Myanmar crisis with  urgency

The April 4 meeting of the UN Security Council on Myanmar was not just a diplomatic formality, it was an urgent call to action in the face of escalating violence and humanitarian crises. The fact that this meeting was long overdue, with the previous session held in February 2019, speaks volumes about the international communitys failure to adequately address the deepening crisis in Myanmar.

Myanmars junta has intensified its brutal crackdown on civilians, resorting to airstrikes and blocking vital humanitarian aid. This has led to a dire situation, with innocent people forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries like Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand. Among these displaced individuals, the Rohingya people face particularly harrowing challenges, undertaking perilous journeys by sea to find safety in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Despite the gravity of the situation, the response from the Security Council has been disappointingly inadequate. While the Human Rights Council passed a resolution on April 4 calling for restrictions on the Myanmar militarys access to jet fuel, the council failed to take decisive action. This failure to act swiftly and decisively sends a troubling message to the perpetrators of violence in Myanmar and undermines the credibility of the UN as a guarantor of global peace and security.

The consequences of inaction are dire. Without urgent intervention and concerted efforts from the international community, the situation in Myanmar is poised to deteriorate further. The junta, out of desperation to maintain its grip on power, has resorted to forced conscription, including targeting minority groups like the Rohingya, who are not even recognized as citizens. This aggressive military stance has led to hundreds of desertions and defections, further destabilizing the region.

The recent loss of control of Chinshwehaw, a strategic town on the border with China, to ethnic armed groups underscores the vulnerability of the military regime. In response to battlefield losses, the militarys imposition of mandatory conscription reflects its increasingly desperate tactics. The targeting of Rohingya individuals, both by the military and other armed groups like the Arakan Army, highlights the grave human rights violations occurring within Myanmars borders.

It is imperative that the UN, in collaboration with regional bodies like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, takes immediate and decisive action to address the crisis in Myanmar. This includes imposing targeted sanctions, restricting arms sales and intensifying diplomatic pressure on the junta to cease its violent crackdown and engage in meaningful dialogue with all stakeholders.

But it is not just the UN that is at fault. ASEANs response to the crisis in Myanmar, particularly in the aftermath of the Rohingya genocide, has been widely criticized for its inadequacy and lack of effectiveness. Despite being a regional organization with a stated commitment to promoting peace, stability and cooperation among its member states, ASEAN has failed to address the grave human rights violations and humanitarian crises unfolding within its borders.

The Rohingya genocide, which saw the systematic persecution and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmars Rakhine State, presented a significant challenge to ASEANs credibility and commitment to upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms. Despite calls from the international community to take action, ASEANs response has been characterized by a reluctance to intervene in what it considers to be the internal affairs of a member state, as well as a lack of consensus among its members on how to address the crisis.

One of the key shortcomings of ASEANs response has been its adherence to the principle of noninterference in the domestic affairs of member states, which has prevented it from effectively addressing the human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya population. This stance has been criticized for prioritizing state sovereignty over the protection of human rights and allowing the perpetuation of impunity for perpetrators of violence.

Furthermore, ASEANs consensus-based decision-making process has hindered its ability to take decisive action on issues related to Myanmar. Member states with close economic and political ties to the junta have resisted efforts to impose meaningful sanctions or exert pressure on the regime to end its crackdown on dissent and respect the rights of minority groups.
Overall, ASEANs failure to effectively address the crisis in Myanmar, particularly in the aftermath of the Rohingya genocide, highlights the limitations of regional organizations in responding to complex humanitarian emergencies and underscores the need for greater international cooperation and accountability in upholding human rights and preventing mass atrocities.

Furthermore, the international community must prioritize the protection of civilians, ensuring unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and supporting efforts to address the root causes of conflict and displacement in Myanmar. Failure to act urgently will only prolong the suffering of innocent civilians and perpetuate a cycle of violence and instability in the region.

The April 4 meeting of the UNSC was a missed opportunity to address the worsening crisis in Myanmar. The international community must urgently come together to take meaningful action to protect the lives and rights of the people of Myanmar and prevent any further escalations of violence and humanitarian suffering.

SOURCE: ARAB NEWS






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