UNSC and ASEAN call for end to violence in Myanmar

The UN Security Council has called for an end to ongoing violence in Myanmar, a year after the government was overthrown in a coup.

Members of the Security Council issued a statement expressing concern over the situation and calling for the protection of citizens. The year of turmoil cut many people off from their homes and basic necessities.

Some 1,500 people are believed to have died in the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Establishments providing health care and education were also targeted. The Council statement condemned all violence.

He also called for the release of pro-democracy leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who are still being held by the Myanmar military.

The junta extended the state of emergency for another six months and said it would hold elections in August next year.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has also joined in the chorus of concern over the situation. It issued a presidential statement saying that ASEAN members “urge the Myanmar authorities to take concrete steps to … fully implement the five-point consensus” agreed last April.

This consensus includes the immediate cessation of violence, the authorization of humanitarian aid and the acceptance of an ASEAN mediator.

The statement calls for the newly appointed envoy, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, to be allowed to visit as soon as possible.

ASEAN foreign ministers are due to meet later this month, but opinions differ among members.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, chairman of the bloc this year, visited Myanmar in early January for talks with the country’s military chief. Hun Sen hopes to bring Myanmar back to the ASEAN table, but some other members have reacted strongly to the move.