Note to Correspondents: Statement on fighting in ethnic areas in Myanmar by the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General

11 October 2016

The Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, is deeply concerned at the escalation of tensions and resumed fighting between government forces and ethnic armed organizations in several sectors, including in northern Shan, Kachin and Karen States. Coming in the wake of recent positive moves for dialogue by the government as well as the constructive engagement shown by the ethnic armed organizations at the recently convened “Twenty First Century Panglong Conference” this is both unsettling and disappointing.

The recent clashes have not only caused grievous deaths and injuries including to infants and children, but also displaced tens of thousands of people across the three states.  This is unconscionable and seriously risks placing the entire peace process in jeopardy.  There is no military solution to the conflicts in Myanmar. Negotiating across the fault lines of majority and minorities represents Myanmar’s biggest challenge requiring patience, magnanimity and understanding.  Any escalation in tension will only undermine the hard won trust between the parties and make peace an even harder undertaking. The high expectations of the peoples of Myanmar as well as the confidence of the international community in the national reconciliation process will only be fulfilled if all parties work together to consolidate the nationwide ceasefire and persist in a sustained political dialogue.

The Special Adviser calls on all sides to meet and negotiate ways to deescalate the conflicts without delay. Pending agreements and solutions, he urges all parties to cease hostile actions, protect civilians, allow unhindered access for humanitarian assistance to affected communities and avoid disproportionate responses to perceived aggressive postures. In his direct communication with the stakeholders, the Special Adviser has encouraged them to move forward constructively to overcome current hurdles and move purposively to realize the legitimate expectations of a stable, peaceful and secure future for all Myanmar’s peoples.

The United Nations is committed to working with all stakeholders to consolidate the peace process, address urgent humanitarian and other problems and bring peace and tranquillity to the areas currently experiencing tension and conflict.