UN envoy calls for a New Year ceasefire in Myanmar

‘All parties must allow humanitarian aid’

The new United Nations special envoy to Myanmar on Monday said she was “deeply concerned” by escalating violence in the country and called for a New Year ceasefire between the military and its opponents.

Nationwide protests against the February coup have been met with a bloody crackdown, with more than 1,300 people killed and over 11,000 arrested, according to a local monitoring group. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis led by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have made little headway so far, with the generals refusing to engage with opponents.

‘Deeply concerned’

Special envoy Noeleen Heyzer “is deeply concerned by the continued escalation of violence in Kayin State and other parts of Myanmar”, she said in her first statement since taking on the role.

She also called for “all parties to… allow humanitarian assistance to be provided to those in need, including those forced to flee the violence”, and for all sides to come to a New Year ceasefire.

On Sunday, a UN official said he was “horrified” by credible reports that at least 35 civilians were killed and their bodies burned in an attack on Christmas Eve in eastern Myanmar, and demanded the government launch an investigation.

Two workers for non-profit group Save the Children remain missing — their vehicle was among several that were attacked and burned in the incident in Kayah State.

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