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‘Influx of Myanmarese refugees at Indian, Thai borders likely just the start’

By The Assam Tribune
‘Influx of Myanmarese refugees at Indian, Thai borders likely just the start’
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UNITED NATIONS, April 1: The influx of refugees from Myanmar at the Indian and Thai borders and elsewhere is “ominous” and likely just the beginning, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar has told the Security Council, warning that regional security could deteriorate further and no country in the region would want a “failed state” as their neighbour.

Myanmar’s military toppled the country’s government on February 1 and seized power for one year, detaining top political figures, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. The coup sparked protests and other acts of civil disobedience, leading to the deaths of hundreds in military crackdown.

The 15-nation Council held closed consultations on Myanmar on Wednesday, days after the country witnessed the bloodiest day since the demonstrations against the February 1 coup began, with security forces killing at least 107 individuals – including seven children on March 27.

In her remarks to the closed meeting of the Council, obtained by PTI, Special Envoy of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said that a robust international response requires a unified regional position, especially with the neighbouring countries leveraging their influence towards stability in Myanmar.

“The regional security and economic consequences are getting worse and could deteriorate further. The influx of refugees at the Indian and Thai borders and elsewhere is ominous and likely just the beginning,” she said.

Burgener said she intends to visit the region soon, hopefully next week, in continuation of her close consultations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other leaders. “I firmly believe that no ASEAN countries or others sharing their borders with Myanmar would want a failed state as their neighbour,” she said.

Burgener told the Council that she counts on the regional actors to play their “unique and important” roles to convince the military what they are aiming for will not work and help navigate an orderly and peaceful way out of this situation.

The special envoy called on those who have access to the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, to let them know how severely its actions have damaged the reputation of the country, “has become a threat to the future of its citizens as well as the security of neighbouring countries.”

She stressed it is important “we do not lend legitimacy to its rule or recognise its power or attempts by the military to create a facade of “business as usual”.

Myanmar shares an over 1,600-km-long unfenced and porous land border with India as well as a maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal. Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram share an international boundary with Myanmar. Arunachal Pradesh shares a 520-km border with Myanmar while Nagaland shares a 215-km border with the country.

Last week, the Manipur government issued a circular to the Deputy Commissioners (DCs) of districts bordering Myanmar not to open camps to provide food and shelter to refugees fleeing the neighbouring country after the coup but withdrew it three days later to avoid potential public anger.

While advising the DCs to “politely turn away” those trying to sneak into India, Special Secretary (Home) H Gyan Prakash wrote that in case of grievous injuries, medical attention may be provided on humanitarian considerations. – PTI

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India slams violence in Myanmar, urges maximum restraint

UNITED NATIONS, April 1: India has condemned the violence in Myanmar and condoled the loss of life, as it urged maximum restraint and called for the release of detained leaders.

Myanmar’s military toppled the country’s government on February 1 and seized power for one year, detaining top political figures, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint. The coup sparked protests and other acts of civil disobedience, leading to the deaths of hundreds in military crackdown.

The UN Security Council held closed consultations on the situation in Myanmar on Wednesday.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador T S Tirumurti tweeted that in his remarks in the closed meeting, he “made these points: Condemn violence, Condole loss of lives, Urge maximum restraint, Our steadfast commitment to democratic transition, Release of detained leaders and welcome @ASEAN efforts.”

He added that during the meeting he emphasised for the “Situation to be resolved peacefully, Need greater engagement, Meet the hopes and aspirations of the people and extend assistance to Rakhine state development programme.” Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned in the “strongest terms” the killing of dozens of civilians, including children and young people, by security forces in Myanmar.

“The continuing military crackdown, which today resulted in the highest daily death toll since demonstrations against the coup began last month, is unacceptable and demands a firm, unified and resolute international response. It is critical to find an urgent solution to this crisis,” the UN chief had said on March 27, the bloodiest day since the demonstrations against the February 1 coup began, when security forces killed at least 107 people, including 7 children.

Guterres reiterated his urgent appeal to the military to refrain from violence and repression and said those responsible for the serious human rights violations committed in Myanmar must be held accountable. The Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener also briefed the Council’s closed consultations. – PTI

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