The UN envoy for Burma is due to begin a diplomatic tour in Asia to try to find a solution to the crisis, while the record of the repression of the military junta passed the milestone of 600 dead this Friday.
Christine Schraner Burgener’s tour comes amid growing international concern over the situation in Burma, rocked by daily protests since the February 1 coup that overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi .
The diplomat is expected these days in Thailand as part of this tour which should also lead her to China, a traditional ally of the Burmese army. Details of his trip are not yet known.
Heavy human toll
At least 614 civilians were killed by security forces during the protests, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). But the toll could be heavier: more than 2,800 people have been arrested. Many, without access to relatives or to a lawyer, are missing.
Blood spilled again on Friday morning. Relief said at least four people were killed when security forces destroyed barricades of protesters in the town of Bago (also known as Pégou), about 65 km northeast of Yangon.
This fierce repression continues to stir up a stir within the international community.
Latest incident to date: the Burmese ambassador in London, favorable to Aung San Suu Kyi, was ousted from his post, prompting the condemnation of London on Thursday, which however had no choice but to accept the decision of the junta.
For its part, the United States announced on Thursday sanctions against a Burmese state-owned company producing precious stones, saying it wanted to deprive the junta of this windfall.
The UN envoy has been calling for a meeting with the generals since February 1, but she has not received permission to go to Burma. With the support of the Security Council, she also wishes to meet with detained civilian leaders, including President Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi.
“It is obviously ready to resume dialogue with the military to help Burma return to the democratic path, to peace and stability,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said Thursday.
Asked if contact was broken, he replied that he was continuing in writing but that there had been no phone interview for weeks.
The envoy “will begin her tour in Bangkok where she will meet the authorities, UN officials in the region and ambassadors accredited to Burma,” said Stéphane Dujarric.
Discussions are underway for a visit to other member countries of the Asean regional association and states in the region.
“As she has repeatedly stressed, a strong international response to the current crisis in Burma requires a unified regional effort involving neighboring countries who can exert influence on the stability of Burma,” the spokesperson said.
An Asean summit is in principle scheduled for the end of the month on Burma.
At the initiative of the United Kingdom, an informal meeting of the UN Security Council is also scheduled for Friday to hear in particular Daw Zin Mar Aung, elected civilian member of the Burmese Parliament and an academic, Sai Sam Kham.
Daw Zin Mar Aung will speak on behalf of the resistance group known as CRPH, the Committee to Represent Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Burmese legislature.
The CRPH claims to have already gathered some 270,000 elements proving “large-scale” human rights violations. He has already started discussions with UN investigators this week.
The head of the junta, General Min Aung Hlaing, for his part accuses the demonstrators of wanting to “destroy the country”, ensuring that the crisis is resolved “democratically”.
When it took power, the junta instituted a state of emergency for one year but a spokesperson, Zaw Min Tun, indicated on CNN that it could be extended for another year, while assuring that elections would be organized.
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