UN chief concerned about Myanmar's intention to hold elections amid violence, arrests

UN chief concerned about Myanmar's intention to hold elections amid violence, arrests

'Without conditions that permit the people of Myanmar to freely exercise their political rights, the proposed polls risk exacerbating instability,' says spokesman

By Betul Yuruk

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern Monday over the intention of Myanmar's ruling junta to hold elections amid intensifying aerial bombardment and the burning of civilian houses along with ongoing arrests, intimidation and harassment of political leaders, civil society actors and journalists.

''Without conditions that permit the people of Myanmar to freely exercise their political rights, the proposed polls risk exacerbating instability,'' his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement.

The military pledged last week to hold new elections in August.

Feb. 1 marks two years since Myanmar's military launched a coup against the democratically elected government and detained its members.

The Secretary-General continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and to support their democratic aspirations for an inclusive, peaceful and just society and the protection of all communities, including the Rohingya, said Dujarric.

He strongly condemns all forms of violence as the multidimensional crisis continues to deteriorate and fuels serious regional implications, Dujarric added.

Guterres also renews his call for neighboring countries and other member states to urge the military leadership to respect the will and needs of the people of Myanmar and adhere to democratic norms, said Dujarric.

On Feb. 1, 2021, Aung San Suu Kyi's government was deposed in a military coup after her National League for Democracy party’s victory in national elections the previous November.

The coup was met with widespread civic unrest as people denounced her removal and the introduction of military rule. The junta detained Suu Kyi and other officials and repressed the protests violently, with the UN warning that the country had descended into civil war.


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