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‘Urgent’ international response needed in Myanmar after coup: UN

Published: Updated:

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an “urgent” international response to the political crisis created in Myanmar by the February 1 military coup, in a new report released by the United Nations on Wednesday.

In the document on “the situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar,” the UN chief also said he feared that the military’s grip on power would become increasingly difficult to counter.

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“It is urgent to mount a unified international and regional response to help to put Myanmar back on the path to democratic reform,” he said in the document dated August 31.

No explanation was given by the UN for the long delay in its publication.

The text was approved by 119 countries, with 36 including China abstaining and one, Belarus, voting against.

The international effort “must be accompanied by the immediate release of President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other government officials,” Guterres said in his report.

There must also be “immediate humanitarian access and assistance, especially to vulnerable communities, among them the Rohingya Muslims, many of whom are living in exile in Bangladesh and elsewhere,” he added.

“The opportunity to prevent the military from entrenching its rule could be narrowing,” and it is important to support “the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar,” Guterres continued.

Myanmar has been in the grip of unrest since the coup on February 1.

The military has launched a bloody crackdown on opponents, with more than 1,100 civilians killed and 8,400 imprisoned, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

At the UN, Myanmar’s ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, who was appointed by the former civilian leader Suu Kyi, has retained his country’s seat, defying the junta to do so.

He is an outspoken supporter of democracy and supported by the international community. In May, the junta appointed a former general to replace him, but the United Nations has not yet approved the appointment.

He had not spoken by the time the UN’s annual General Assembly closed on Monday.

The withdrawal of his appearance came after a high-level UN diplomat told AFP that an agreement had also been reached between the United States, Russia and China preventing him from doing so.

Read more: Deposed Myanmar leader Suu Kyi returns to court but still ‘somewhat dizzy’: Lawyer