World’s response to Myanmar’s humanitarian crisis

A military coup d’état overthrew Myanmar’s democratically elected civilian government in February 2021. A nationwide humanitarian crisis has been brought on by the subsequent political crisis, the regime’s attempts to suppress dissent and opposition, and the escalating armed conflicts across the nation.

Read more: Myanmar’s Coup and Its Aftermath, Explained

Along with a worsening political and security situation, the military coup in Myanmar has also resulted in serious human rights violations. An economic catastrophe is being fuelled by both the COVID-19 outbreak and political unrest. Nearly half of Myanmar’s population is at risk of becoming poor, and urban food insecurity has increased. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by this.

Displacement and Refugee Crisis

According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report the events of February 2021, violence on civilians, and the escalating military conflict drove tens of thousands of refugees into nearby nations. In addition, it uprooted more than 982,000 people within Myanmar. 1.35 million internally displaced people (IDPs) may require protection and humanitarian aid immediately by 2023, according to current displacement trends.

Read more: MYANMAR SITUATION | 2021

World’s Response

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on December 21, 2022, denouncing the Myanmar military’s rights violations almost two years of the coup.

Several Western states have imposed sanctions on the Junta. Junta means the government by the committee which consists of military leaders.

The decision to pass a resolution is an appreciable one but the proposal should bring scrutiny to the Junta party. The proposal itself will not stop the Junta party from illegally destroying and attacking the lives of 54 million people. Strong, coordinated action by UN Member States is required in response to the ongoing, egregious breaches of human rights. This violence comes from war crimes and crimes against humanity, being committed against the people of Myanmar by an unlawful military junta.

Read more: UN Security Council: Historic Censure of Myanmar Junta

Regional powers like China and India response have also been lukewarm towards the unlawful activities going on in Myanmar. Alleged China’s involvement in Myanmar is a safety issue for India as there have been many Myanmar refugees fleeing to India.

Myanmar's humanitarian crisis
Myanmar: Rohingya face a humanitarian crisis | Photo Credit: Evangelos Petratos, Rakhine, Myanmar/Burma June 2014

ASEAN Response

ASEAN’s (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) response during this crisis has been the most disappointing so far. During the ASEAN meeting in 2021, they merely took symbolic actions, like banning Myanmar from meetings, and has not put any special force on general Min Aung Hlaing. Cambodia serving as the ASEAN chair in 2022, prime minister Hun Sen welcomed the generals back into ASEAN, visiting Naypyidaw and urging for the renormalization of the oppressive military rule.

Read more: ASEAN and Myanmar: Crisis and Opportunity – The DiplomatTime for ASEAN to recognise Myanmar’s shadow government | East Asia Forum

Even though ASEAN policies have been of non-interference, one wonders if the policy needs to be flexible in extreme cases that of Myanmar.

Read More

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