Happening today: General Assembly is briefed by Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer on the conflict and multidimensional crisis in Myanmar. Happening now in the Trusteeship or via @UNWebTV https://t.co/VkMZREJH7m pic.twitter.com/47zamXlJaj
— Paulina Kubiak Greer (@KubiakPG) June 13, 2022
Nearly one million mainly Muslim Rohingyas live in refugees camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, and hundreds of thousands of others are scattered across the region.
This crisis has resulted in collapsing State institutions, disrupting social and economic infrastructure – including health, education, banking, food security and employment – while increasing criminality and illicit activities.
And over the past five years, the number of people living in poverty has doubled to encompass half the population.
“Today, 14.4 million people, or one-quarter of the entire population of Myanmar urgently require humanitarian assistance,” said the Special Envoy.
At the same time, following the COVID-19 pandemic and political crisis, school enrolment has dropped by up to 80 per cent in two years, leaving at least 7.8 million children shut out of the classroom.
“A generation that benefitted from the democratic transition is now disillusioned, facing chronic hardship and, tragically, many feel they have no choice left but to take up arms,” she warned.
Conflict, the norm
As military violence and distrust have continued to deepen, including against peaceful protestors, armed conflict “has become the norm” for all Burmese.
“The military continues its disproportionate use of force, has intensified its attack on civilians and increased operations against resistance forces, using aerial bombings,” said the senior UN official. “Civilian buildings and villages have been destroyed by fire and internally displaced populations have been attacked”.
Meanwhile, there are reports of up to 600 armed resistance groups, or “people’s defense forces” engaged in fighting, with some conducting assassinations targeting those seen as “pro-military”.