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Myanmar junta accuses U.N. envoys of bias and interference

Myanmar junta accuses U.N. envoys of bias and interference
Myanmar junta accuses U.N. envoys of bias and interference Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters
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- Reports on Myanmar by two United Nations envoys used unreliable sources, made sweeping allegations and infringed on the country's sovereignty, the ruling junta said in its latest swipe at the international community's response to its crisis.

Protests and unrest have paralysed Myanmar since the Feb. 1 coup, with the military accused of atrocities and excessive force against civilians, though the junta blames the unrest on "terrorists" allied with a shadow government.

The junta's foreign ministry said recent reports and remarks by special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener and special rapporteur Tom Andrews were far from reality and reflected a United Nations bias.

"Myanmar cannot accept the motives of the organisation for its target on a country and using human rights as a political tool to intervene in internal affairs," the ministry said in a lengthy rebuttal late on Sunday.

Schraner Burgener, who is stepping down after more than three years in the role, said last week the military had "no interest" in compromise or dialogue and the opportunity for the international community to get Myanmar back on the right path was narrowing.

The junta said the envoy used an unreliable death toll, made accusations without specific details and was "watering down" violence committed by its opponents.

Schraner Burgener failed to mention that electoral fraud was the reason why the military had to take power, it added.

"The questions on integrity of the special envoy of the secretary-general and accordingly, her presence, are increasingly growing," it said.

The junta has taken an increasingly defensive tone as international pressure builds, including that from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a bloc long accused of a weak line on Myanmar's military governments.

ASEAN's unprecedented Oct. 15 decision to sideline junta chief Min Aung Hlaing from a summit this week drew the ire of the military, which struck back on Friday, accusing the grouping of departing from its norms of consensus and non-interference.

An Oct. 22 speech by Andrews, which alleged torture, arbitrary detentions, abductions and massive displacement of civilians, was based on hearsay of unverified sources, the junta said in its latest statement.

"It is observed in his report that the special rapporteur brings unfounded rumour to a speedy and risky conclusion," the junta said.

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