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UN special envoy to visit Myanmar 'to address deteriorating situation'

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The UN special envoy for Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, will travel to the Southeast Asian nation for the first time since she was appointed to the post last October. (File Photo)

A senior UN official is visiting Myanmar this week following the call from the UN Security Council for an immediate cessation of violence and unimpeded humanitarian access in the strife-torn country.

The UN Secretary-General's special envoy Noeleen Heyzer, who is slated to visit Myanmar, is said to focus on "addressing the deteriorating situation and immediate concerns," the UN said in a statement, giving no further information.

Her visit comes after "extensive consultations with actors from across the political spectrum, civil society as well as communities affected by the ongoing conflict", the United Nations said in a statement on Monday.

The Southeast Asian country has been grappling with political chaos since the military overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi early last year and launched a crackdown on anti-military protests.

The military takeover triggered mass protests in the country, which was followed by the junta's brutal crackdown that killed at least 1,500 people and led to the arrest of 11,838 others, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring group.

Junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told a pro-army media outlet that Heyzer was due to arrive on Wednesday.

He said the UN official plans to meet the military leaders but said Heyzer has made no request to meet the former ousted leader, Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s military leaders claim that the Nobel Laureate – who colluded with them during her tenure as the country’s civilian leader in the killing and brutal displacement of nearly 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims -- is facing a trial for her crimes.

Since her arrest, Suu Kyi has been charged with multiple crimes, from violations of electoral and state secrets laws to incitement and corruption offenses that carry a combined maximum prison term of more than 150 years if she is convicted.

Western countries are opposed to the criminal trial of Suu Kyi and claim the charges are aimed are permanently blocking the 77-year-old politician from returning to politics.

During her rule, thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, raped, tortured, or arrested by the junta forces, according to the United Nations, which has described the community in Myanmar's western Rakhine State as the most persecuted minority in the world. 

The fresh wave of the exodus of persecuted Rohingyas from Myanmar’s Rakhine state started in October 2016 after a crackdown by Myanmar security forces, forcing more than 200,000 of them to flee to Bangladesh at that time. 

In August 2017, more than 720,000 more Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution, murder, arson, and rape.


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