December 2023

Diplomats Join Breakfast Briefing on Myanmar

On December 1, QUNO staff in New York kicked off the new month by hosting a breakfast meeting at Quaker House on the situation in Myanmar. The meeting brought diplomats together to hear a briefing by Min Zin, Executive Director of the Institute for Strategy and Policy, regarding the complex and rapidly evolving situation in Myanmar.

In his presentation, Min Zin shared important perspectives on the role of insiders and outsiders in the Myanmar conflict. He noted that outsiders must recognise and respect the agency and leadership of the Myanmar people. He also emphasised that the country faces a dangerously high level of militarisation, and that members of the international community must do preparatory work to ensure that they are ready and able to support efforts to build peace when the time comes. In her capacity as Chair, QUNO New York Director Sarah Clarke emphasised the need for countries at the UN to shift from being spectators, waiting to see who will prevail, to instead seeking out ways to engage and support peaceful solutions that reflect the aspirations of the Myanmar people.

This timely briefing follows a significant uptick in armed conflict taking place in Myanmar. Starting in late October, several ethnic and armed groups launched attacks against the military who have controlled Myanmar since staging a coup in 2021. These attacks began in the country’s northeast and have spread to other areas of the country, posing a serious threat to the military as it has found itself fighting on multiple fronts. The UN estimates that more than half a million people have been newly displaced since fighting escalated at the end of October. 

Participants at the breakfast meeting expressed gratitude for the opportunity to come together and focus on this critical topic. QUNO is committed to facilitating regular opportunities for members of the UN community in New York to access expertise and analysis regarding the fast-evolving situation in Myanmar. These opportunities for learning and exchange are essential in producing leadership from the UN that centres the needs of people and contributes to sustainable peace.

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