While war rages in the Middle East, other conflicts are competing for attention at the United Nations.
However, this morning the Security Council met to discuss the situation in Myanmar where in the three years since the military coup 44,000 people have been killed and 2.6 million people displaced, according to estimates made by the former civilian government.
The envoy of that toppled government retains his credentials at the United Nations.
Ahead of this morning’s Security Council meeting, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun told reporters it was “high time for the UN Security Council to address the issue seriously and take effective actions accordingly”.
He said the military junta had continued its atrocities against the people of Myanmar despite the adoption of a Security Council resolution in December 2022, which demanded an end to violence throughout the country.
He said the Council had failed to enforce the resolution.
“My question again and again is: what are they waiting for to save the lives of the people of Myanmar?” he said of the 15-member Council.
He said 19 million people needed humanitarian assistance and half the population had been thrown into poverty.
Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun added that the military junta used fighter jets and helicopters to conduct attacks on civilian areas including schools, hospitals, and religious buildings.
“Even today, the military conducted a bombardment on a school,” he told reporters.
“It is so sad that so many children are being killed,” he said.
He called on Council members to cease the flow of weapons to the military junta.
A UN report last year found millions of dollars’ worth of arms and weapons components were being supplied to the Myanmar military from China and Russia, both of which occupy permanent seats with veto power on the UN Security Council.
Myanmar’s military junta has long been accused of committing atrocities against civilians.
The International Court of Justice in the Hague is currently considering a case of genocide lodged by Gambia.
Several other countries including France, UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada recently joined Gambia’s case.
The case alleges that Myanmar’s military and other security forces committed genocide by systemically destroying mostly Muslim Rohingya communities through mass murder, rape and violence in Rakhine province.
Hundreds of thousands Rohingya refugees fled Myanmar during the military crackdown which started in 2016.
In 2017, a UN fact-finding mission concluded the military had engaged in “genocidal acts”, a finding rejected by the Myanmar authorities.
And in a rare move, the Biden administration last year declared that genocide had been committed by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya minority.
Ahead of this morning’s Security Council meeting, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the UN, Barbara Woodward, delivered a statement on behalf of nine member states calling for “an immediate end to all forms of violence” and urging restraint and de-escalation of tensions.
“We strongly condemn the ongoing violence harming civilians, including the military’s continued use of indiscriminate air strikes,” Ambassador Woodward told reporters.
Asked by RTÉ News if the UK’s stance on the Israel-Gaza war undermined its moral authority when it came to conflicts like Myanmar, Ambassador Woodward said the UK was “intensely engaged in the Israel-Gaza discussions.”
“My Foreign Secretary as well as (US) Secretary Blinken are on the road as we speak. Right now, we’re going to discuss Myanmar,” she said.