Call to action against crisis-hit Myanmar amid school attack

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Malaysia says Southeast Asian countries should cooperate with NUG as the UN Security Council prepares to debate a new resolution to end violence.

Southeast Asian countries should take a more “inclusive” approach to dealing with the violent crisis caused by Myanmar’s military coup and have a clear “end game” in mind, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said.

Saifuddin, sitting next to representatives of the Myanmar Government of National Unity (NUG) at a press conference on Monday on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, said it was imperative that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Nations (ASEAN) would speak to “all stakeholders” in its efforts to end the crisis.

Although ASEAN has excluded the generals from the main summits, Saifuddin is currently the only foreign minister of the ten-member group that the NGG has met.

“There must be an inclusive and fair consultation with all stakeholders in Myanmar, including the NGG and NUCC. Then there should be a framework with a clear endgame, which includes a return to democracy in Myanmar,” Saifuddin said, referring to the government set up by the elected politicians removed in the coup and the National Unity Consultative Council. including the NG, elected politicians, ethnic political parties and armed groups, and civil society.

“The Myanmar people deserve to have their real representatives at the table where regional decisions are made,” said NUG spokesman Htin Linn Aung, who appeared alongside Saifuddin.

Myanmar was plunged into crisis in February 2021, when the military arrested elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and seized power. It has cracked down on any opposition, describing civilian and ethnic armed groups fighting against its rule as “terrorists” and executing four political prisoners in July.

The military effectively ignored an ASEAN-mediated five-point framework to end the violence, and Saifuddin said the organization, whose leaders are due to meet in two months’ time, must decide whether the plan was “still relevant” or whether “it is still relevant.” must be replaced by something better”.

“By the time we meet in November we need to ask that tough question and during that time we need to have the answer,” he said.

School attacked

The press conference came amid reports that at least 13 people, including seven children, have been killed after army helicopters attacked a school in a monastery complex in central Myanmar.

“They kept firing from the air at the compound for an hour,” school principal Mar Mar told the Associated Press news agency. “They didn’t stop for a minute. All we could do at that time was recite Buddhist mantras.”

The NGG accused the military of “targeted attacks” on schools and called for the release of 20 students and teachers arrested according to the airstrikes.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has monitored the crackdown, nearly 2,300 people have been killed by the military since the coup.

A children’s backpack and textbooks at a school in Myanmar that was attacked by the army on Friday [Reuters via social media]

Save the Children says there were some 190 documented violent attacks on schools after the 2021 coup, compared to 10 the year before.

Amid the ongoing attacks, the UN Security Council will consider a United Kingdom-drafted resolution – circulated Friday – that would demand an end to all violence in Myanmar, would call for an immediate halt to transfers of weapons to Myanmar and would pose a threat to UN sanctions.

He also calls on the military to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to implement the ASEAN peace plan and enable a democratic transition.

To be passed, the resolution would require at least nine votes and none of the five permanent members to veto it. Russia, which has a veto, continued to show its support for the military when President Vladimir Putin met with army chief Min Aung Hlaing earlier this month.



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