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Myanmar junta slams UN’s ‘one-sided’ rights claims

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YANGON – Myanmar’s junta on Tuesday slammed the UN’s “one-sided allegations” about its human rights record and said it had received no official communication regarding the recent appointment of a new UN special envoy to the conflict-torn country.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the military seized power in February 2021, ending a brief democratic experiment and sparking clashes with ethnic rebel groups and anti-coup fighters.

The junta has reacted with fury to attempts by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc to establish dialogue between it and its opponents, whom it has vowed to “annihilate/”

Last week the UN’s rights council adopted a resolution slamming “horrific and systematic human rights violations” in Myanmar.

It also criticised the junta’s “stranglehold” on humanitarian assistance, which it said was exacerbating a crisis that has displaced more than 2.5 million people.

That resolution “included unfounded and one-sided allegations,” the junta’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement published in the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

“Therefore, Myanmar categorically rejects the resolution.”

The statement also said the UN had made “no official communication to Myanmar” regarding last week’s appointment of a new UN special envoy to the country.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop to the post, which has been vacant since the departure in June 2023 of Noeleen Heyzer.

The Singaporean sociologist was tasked with urging the military to engage in political dialogue with opposing groups and end a bloody crackdown it launched after toppling the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

She visited the Southeast Asian nation in 2022 and met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing and other top military officials in a move criticised by rights groups as lending legitimacy to the generals.

But she was denied a meeting with detained democracy figurehead Suu Kyi and later irked junta officials who accused her of issuing a “one-sided statement” of what had been discussed.

She later vowed not to visit the country again unless she was allowed to meet Suu Kyi, who is currently serving a 27-year jail sentence handed down by a closed-door junta court.

Myanmar’s UN envoy Kyaw Moe Tun was appointed by Suu Kyi’s government and has refused to leave his post despite the junta’s insistence that he no longer represents the country.

AFP has asked the UN for comment.

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