UN Special Envoy Nellen Heyzer Visits Military-led Myanmar For The First Time

UN Special Envoy Nellen Heyzer Visits Military-led Myanmar For The First Time
UN's special envoy for Myanmar, Nellen Heyzer | Image sources: The Star/Foreign Policy

After being appointed as the United Nations’ special envoy for Myanmar in October last year, it is for the first time that Nellen Heyzer has travelled to Myanmar.

The trip made by her on Monday resulted as a consequence of the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) latest call for an instantaneous halt to all kinds of violence, and unobstructed public-spirited access in the strife-torn nation.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric informed, “Heyzer will focus on addressing the deteriorating situation and immediate concerns, as well as other priority areas of her mandate.”

However, he shed no light on whether Heyzer would meet with Myanmar’s military junta authorities, or the country’s previous leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which has been a long-time demand of the UN.

Earlier on Monday, Suu Kyi was convicted on more corruption charges, adding another six years to her already pronounced term of eleven years. With this ruling, the overall prison sentence for the political leader now amounts to seventeen years.

Dujarric also mentioned that Heyzer’s visit “follows her extensive consultations with actors from across the political spectrum, civil society, as well as communities affected by the ongoing conflict”.

Earlier in August, Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who is also the special emissary to Myanmar for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the neighbouring countries’ efforts to help restore peace and normalcy to the violence-struck nation went futile after the country’s latest judgement to execute four pro-democracy, political activists.

Warning Myanmar over any further executions, Sokhonn said that the regional group would be forced to re-examine how it indulged with the fellow member.

The Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military junta, overthrew Suu Kyi’s elected government in February 2021, thereafter violently cracking down on the extensive demonstrations against its actions.

The battle between the security forces and peaceful demonstrators aggravated so much that some of the demonstrators also picked up arms to answer to the oppression from the security forces.

According to a five point ASEAN plan, Myanmar’s military rulers had agreed to halt the violence in April 2021 and restore peace and stability to the country, which includes an instantaneous stoppage to violence, and discourse and dialogue among all parties. However, they seem to have made minimal effort to implement the plan, and Myanmar has further slipped into a state of affairs that some UN experts have begun to label it as a civil war.

Nellen Heyzer is a women’s rights advocate from Singapore, who previously chaired the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), a UN development organisation that focuses on promoting women’s economic development, from 1994 to 2007.

She was also the first woman to serve as the executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, from 2007 to 2014.


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