UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Noelize Heyser walks with senior officials after her first visit to Yangon, August 16, 2022 – Copyright AFP Manjunath Kiran
The UN special envoy to Myanmar on Monday vowed not to visit the country again unless she was allowed to meet with ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi after a heavily criticized trip to meet with the junta.
Diplomatic efforts to end the bloody stalemate in Myanmar, led by the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations regional bloc, have failed as generals refuse to engage adversaries.
United Nations Special Envoy Noelize Heizer met with senior junta leaders in the capital last month on her first visit, 10 months after her appointment.
The trip drew criticism from both the junta and opponents of the military.
She was denied access to detained democracy activist Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to a total of two decades in prison. The UN spokeswoman later irritated junta officials, who accused her of making a “one-sided statement” about what was being discussed.
Heizer called for an immediate end to the violence and the release of all political prisoners, her office said at the time.
More than 2,200 people have been killed and more than 15,000 arrested in the military’s crackdown on dissent since the February 2021 takeover, according to a local rights group.
Days after Heizer’s visit, dozens of Myanmar civil society groups dismissed her trip as “the latest testament to the historical ineffectiveness” of UN envoys and criticized her meeting with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.
They also called for the end of her mandate and the personal intervention of UN Secretary General António Guterres in the crisis.
“If I ever visit Myanmar again, it will only be if I can meet Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi,” she said at a workshop at Singapore-based think tank ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. cue.
Heizer added that “there is no clear path” out of the crisis in Myanmar and warned of a “multi-dimensional catastrophe” if the international community does not support efforts to bring peace to the country.
In July, the junta drew renewed international condemnation when it executed Phyo Zeya Tou, a former MP from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, for crimes under anti-terrorism laws.
In response, the UN Security Council, including the junta’s allies Russia and China, issued a rare condemnation of the junta.
Last year, Guterres appointed Heizer, a Singaporean sociologist. She replaced the Swiss diplomat Christina Schraner Burgener, who was banned by her military leaders from visiting the country, where she also hoped to meet Suu Kyi.
Cambodian Foreign Minister and ASEAN Envoy to Myanmar Prak Sokhonn visited Myanmar twice, but both times the military denied him access to Suu Kyi.