ASIA/MYANMAR - ASEAN appeal for humanitarian truce; petition to the UN to confirm the ambassador

Monday, 6 September 2021 cease-fire   humanitarian assistance   armed conflicts   asean   human rights  

New York (Agenzia Fides) - Myanmar's military rulers have agreed to an "Association of Southeast Asian Nations" (ASEAN) call for a ceasefire until the end of 2021. The truce will serve to ensure distribution of humanitarian aid in the nation, torn apart by civil conflict. ASEAN has specified that this is not a political ceasefire. This is a ceasefire to "ensure safety of the humanitarian workers" in their effort to distribute aid safely to the exhausted and pandemic-affected population. ASEAN has also launched the appeal to the opposition forces of the resistance, in the hope that a bilateral cessation of violence will benefit the assistance to the civilian population. According to estimates by the World Bank, given the collapse of GDP and the serious socio-economic situation in Myanmar, some 25 million people (almost half of the Burmese population) will live in poverty in the coming months. Meanwhile, a petition to the governments of UN member countries and a collection of international signatures seek to put pressure on the next UN General Assembly where Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the current government in Myanmar before the military coup on February 1, is seen as the last voice capable of making the aspirations of the Burmese resistance heard in an international forum. The petition calls on governments to take a stand at the UN General Assembly, which opens on September 14, expressing themselves in favor of Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, as Myanmar's permanent representative to the UN. The diplomat – a victim of threats and intimidation, for which two Burmese were arrested in the US - was appointed by the government of the Aung San Suu Kyi League, but the new regime led by the military junta officially dismissed him after Kyaw Moe Tun had taken position against the coup, speaking in front of UN members. The petition reminds us that welcoming a new ambassador appointed by the junta "would mean legitimizing him and encouraging his authoritarian and repressive policies, condemning Myanmar to a dictatorship led by the same army that committed genocide against the Rohingya people in 2017". That violence, repeatedly stigmatized in the UN, caused thousands of victims and hundreds of thousands of refugees, now hosted in Bangladesh. Citing the Rohingya dossier in the petition, the current "shadow government" (National Unity Government-Nug), which opposes the military junta, shows that it has adhered to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, to demonstrate its willingness to collaborate with the international community in the investigation of this violence. The Burmese communities of the diaspora, in Italy and in many other Western states, which are an expression of the NUG, are asking the Italian government and the European Union to recognize Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun. For this reason, a presidium has been organized in Rome on September 12 in the Piazza del Popolo, while similar demonstrations are also planned in other European cities and in America. (MG-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 6/9/2021)