UN Ignored by Junta and Pressurized About Burma Aid Crisis

Date:

UN Ignored by Junta and Pressurized About Burma Aid Crisis

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2023
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • With a new rule requiring registration for all national and international non-governmental organisations and groups and instituting criminal penalties for unregistered entities with up to five years in prison, the junta is attempting to impose its power.

  • According to Charles Petrie, former assistant secretary-general of the UN and former head of the UN mission in Myanmar, it cannot cooperate with a repressive government without appearing to support its activities.

  • The junta is supported militarily and in other ways by China and Russia. Still, most of the rest of the diplomatic community has stepped back from the Myanmar crisis and is instead counting on ASEAN to take the initiative.

  • The junta’s leadership has been shunned in regional gatherings in a never-before-seen fashion.

  • Van van Assum claimed that the programme “died a lingering death.

According to the most recent projections from the UN, the civil war and the economic catastrophe following the military coup would result in the need for humanitarian help for up to 18 million people, or around one-third of Myanmar’s total population, this year.

Since the estimated 14 million people required assistance last year, the number of those in need has increased. Fighting forced almost 10,000 people from their homes in southern Kayin State early in January alone, adding to the more than 1.5 million IDPs in the nation.

The UN claims it understands the urgent need to stay in Myanmar and boost humanitarian operations. Still, it is wedged between a hostile military junta restricting its actions and a loose network of rebel organisations claiming the international organisation legitimises an unjust administration.

Many criticise UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the crisis’s lack of hands-on leadership.

According to Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, “nearly 18 million people, or nearly one-third of the Myanmar population, are estimated to need humanitarian assistance nationwide in 2023, with conflict continuing to endanger the lives of civilians in many parts of the country.”

He told IPS that despite significant underfunding and what he described as “strong bureaucratic and access barriers,” local and international humanitarian relief organisations are “using various tactics” in various locations and have touched over four million people in 2022.

Balakrishnan defended the significance of the UN’s interaction with the administration of General Min Aung Hlaing, which has brutally suppressed opposition since seizing control two years ago and toppling the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

“To negotiate access and campaign on essential protection issues, principled interaction with all parties is required. As crucial as providing humanitarian relief to those in need is advocating to end the intense fighting and airstrikes in inhabited areas that endanger civilians and aid workers.

Humanitarian workers charge that the junta has further restricted assistance efforts and prevented millions of people from receiving much-needed aid. Around one-third of Myanmar’s townships cannot be adequately managed, the authorities acknowledged last month. Nonetheless, it is possible to block entry to some regions under the control of armed ethnic and resistance organisations that have been at war with the military for a long time.

With a new rule requiring registration for all national and international non-governmental organisations and groups and instituting criminal penalties for unregistered entities with up to five years in prison, the junta is attempting to impose its power.

According to James Rodehaver, head of the Myanmar Unit for the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR), “Civic space has already been decimated in the country due to the military’s activities, particularly its systematic harassment, arrest, and prosecution of anyone who challenged their coup.” These new laws could significantly reduce the operational space available for civic organisations to provide necessary goods and services to a population that is fighting to exist.

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