BANGKOK (AP) – Aid workers and activists warn of the dangers of Myanmar’s political upheaval, which could spark a regional refugee crisis as disputes following the February coup shift the growing number of people who have lost their lives.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews, says the violence has displaced nearly 250,000 people. As Myanmar’s neighbors prepare for a summit to discuss the coup this week, other advocates warn that the situation could spiral out of control.
“The world must act immediately to address this humanitarian catastrophe,” Andrews said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
The mass movement of civil disobedience ջանք the efforts of the security forces to crush it have left many out of work. Internet service failures are undermining the livelihoods of a poor country.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened a meeting on Saturday in response to the crisis that killed more than 700 civilians, according to the Association for the Support of Political Prisoners, which has been tracking casualties since militarization.
ASIAN’s stance on non-interference in the internal affairs շատ The relatively undemocratic nature of many member states has forced Myanmar’s neighbors to be wary of imposing any sanctions on the ousted Aung San Suu Kyi-elected civilian government. He is imprisoned with more than 3,000 people.
The number of people fleeing Myanmar bombings and other violence is “what they (ASEAN) want to control.” “Refugees crossing the border are not internal, they are becoming a regional issue,” said Sally Thompson, executive director of the Border Consortium, which has provided food, shelter and other assistance to refugees from Myanmar for more than three decades.
“ASEAN countries can put pressure on Myanmar because they are a trading bloc,” Thompson told a briefing at the Thai Foreign Correspondents Club.
He estimated that about 7,000 people were camped along the Salouin River on the border with Thailand, with more than 1,000 hiding in the forests of Thailand. It is the only area along the border that stretches from India to the north to China and Thailand to the northeast of Thailand.
Most of the displaced are still in Myanmar, adding those who have already been forced to flee because of long-running ethnic uprisings. But the fighting disrupted their access to food and other necessities.
“People were still finding rest areas inside Myanmar, but if this conflict spreads to ethnic border states, you will see an influx of refugees,” said Ames Rodehaver, head of the Bank’s Myanmar team in Bangkok.
A mass movement of civil disobedience shut down many Myanmar businesses – from banks, hospitals, to garment factories. This prompted people to flee the cities and return to their home villages, burdening the families who relied on them.
Problems are exacerbated by the coronavirus epidemic, which increases the risk of outbreaks, as some migrant workers are forced to return to Myanmar from Thailand or other countries.
“In Myanmar, the economy is collapsing. Salaries are no longer paid! “People are losing their livelihoods because they are hiding for their own safety,” Thompson said. “The whole country is heading for a humanitarian crisis.”
So far, most of the sanctions imposed on Myanmar’s military leaders to force them to postpone the coup and restore an elected government have been passed by Western governments.
This includes banning business with large military companies that dominate many industries, including profitable gemstones and jade trading.
It is unclear whether such steps had a major impact a few weeks after the coup. Time is needed to slow down revenue streams, and oil and gas companies, which are still the country’s largest exporters, remain largely in the position of saying that they have a responsibility to turn on the lights of an energy-saving country and protect their own. But it is clear that the economy is getting worse, economists say.
Fitch Solutions downgraded its rating for the current fiscal year, which ends in September, to 2% growth to minus 20%.
ASEAN accounts for a third of Myanmar’s foreign trade, with China accounting for a larger share. And most of the foreign investment in the country comes from within the region.