UN envoy calls for urgent action to reverse Myanmar coup

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Anti-coup protesters hold up images of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they gather in Yangon, Myanmar, Friday, Mar. 5, 2021. Demonstrators defy growing violence by security forces and stage more anti-coup protests ahead of a special U.N. Security Council meeting on the country's political crisis. (AP Photo)

CAMEROON – The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar called Friday for urgent Security Council action to reverse Myanmar’s military coup, saying about 50 peaceful protesters were killed in the military’s worst crackdowns this week and scores more were seriously injured.

Christine Schraner Burgener said in her briefing to a closed council meeting released by the U.N. that council unity and “robust” action is critical “in pushing for a stop to the violence and the restoration of Myanmar’s democratic institutions.”

“We must denounce the actions by the military,” she said. “It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results.”

The Feb. 1 military coup ousted the government of Aung San Suu Kyi after her National League for Democracy Party won 82% of the vote in November elections. The military contends there was ballot fraud, but the electoral commission upheld the results.

Schraner Burgener, a veteran Swiss diplomat, said she hopes to visit Myanmar and use her “good offices” to find a peaceful solution through dialogue. She announced that she plans to visit countries in the region “to help promote greater international coherence” if COVID-19 restrictions permit.

The Security Council took no immediate action. Council diplomats said Britain circulated a draft presidential statement for consideration, a step below a legally binding resolution.

The U.N. envoy stressed that a peaceful solution requires the immediate release of Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

Schraner Burgener reiterated an earlier appeal to the international community not to “lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime that has been forcefully imposed,” stressing that “nothing but chaos has since followed.”