UN Special Envoy Sees No Prospect for Myanmar Peace

By The Irrawaddy 17 March 2023

The United Nations special envoy to Myanmar says there is no prospect for a negotiated settlement as “both sides are intent on prevailing by force”.

Noeleen Heyzer told the UN General Assembly on Thursday that military rule has been devastating and “violence continues at an alarming scale”.

Observers fear fighting will intensify as the resistance forces have vowed to fight until the end.

“Heavy fighting has spread to areas previously unaffected by conflict, putting more civilian lives at risk and further complicating humanitarian operations delivering lifesaving assistance to the people of Myanmar,” the envoy warned.

She said the regime’s “four cuts” strategy to block access to food, funds, information and recruits also continues to target civilians as collective punishment.

Heyzer said the regime has accused resistance forces of violence while the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) continued to point to junta brutality.

“With both sides intent on prevailing by force, there is no prospect for a negotiated settlement,” Heyzer said.

The NUG said the junta has committed 64 massacres across the country since the 2021 coup, killing 766 people.

Since the coup, 17.6 million people have been put in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 1.6 million are displaced and an estimated 55,000 civilian structures have been destroyed, according to the UN.

The military faced nationwide popular protests after the February 2021 coup that later turned into armed resistance after regime crackdowns.

The junta uses aerial bombing and arson attacks but still fails to control the country.

The regime has escalated offensives in anti-regime strongholds, deploying more troops.