Britain urges halt to Myanmar clashes to allow vaccination

Aug 17, 2021, 3:40 AM | Updated: 8:03 pm
FILE - In this July 14, 2021, file photo, people wearing face masks wait as caskets with bodies are...

FILE - In this July 14, 2021, file photo, people wearing face masks wait as caskets with bodies are queued outside a crematorium at the Yay Way cemetery in Yangon, Myanmar. With coronavirus deaths rising in Myanmar, there are growing allegations from residents and human rights activists that the military government, which seized control in February, is using the pandemic to consolidate power and crush opposition. (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Kingdom called Tuesday for an immediate and sustained pause in clashes and unrest in Myanmar to allow vaccinations as an intense COVID-19 surge is ravaging the country.

Britain’s deputy U.N. ambassador, James Kariuki, told reporters after closed Security Council discussions that the call for a humanitarian pause and a strong international response was joined by Foreign Minister Dato Erywan of Brunei, the new special envoy for Myanmar from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations who joined the meeting virtually.

Kariuki said U.N. special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener and U.N. deputy humanitarian chief Ramesh Rajasingham told the council that the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar is worsening daily.

“Prior to the coup, Myanmar had a strong vaccination record and was developing a COVID-19 plan,” he said. “Now, Myanmar’s health system is barely functioning, unacceptable attacks on hospitals, doctors and nurses continue, and only 3% of the population are vaccinated.”

Myanmar has been struggling with one of the worst COVID-19 surges in Southeast Asia, and the military leadership that ousted Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government Feb. 1 has been accused of diverting critical medical supplies to itself and its supporters.

Last week, Schraner Burgener said that more than 333,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Myanmar, including 3,611 new cases Aug. 9.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Rajasingham “outlined what is basically a collapsing health care system, resurging wave of the virus, increased hostilities and violence, (and) significant displacement.

Schraner Burgener called on U.N. member states Tuesday to support pandemic and other humanitarian efforts in Myanmar and she also called on the parties to allow a vaccination campaign “to go forward through all available avenues in the country,” Dujarric said.

Kariuki said that “the UK is calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian pause to allow vaccines to get to all in need, and for medical and humanitarian staff to work without fear or attack.”

He said that at the council meeting “we had a lot of calls for a humanitarian pause,” but members did not take any action.

Kariuki said U.N. officials will work with Security Council members, other U.N. members and international partners such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization “to ensure the people of Myanmar get access to vaccines in an equitable way — regardless of politics, ethnicity or religion.”

“Vaccines must be tools of protection, not politics,” he said, stressing that the political situation is having an impact on the humanitarian crisis.

Myanmar for five decades languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating in Suu Kyi’s rise to leadership in 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and pouring investment into the country. The Feb. 1 takeover followed an overwhelming victory by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in November elections that the military contested as fraudulent.

The military takeover was met with widespread protests that have resulted in a lethal crackdown by security forces, which routinely fire live ammunition into crowds. Armed resistance to the military is growing in both urban and rural areas.

Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported Tuesday that 999 people have been killed since Feb. 1. It said 7,320 have been arrested, of whom 5,712 are still detained, including Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

An inflatable depicting the World Cup trophy is seen during pregame celebrations prior to the World...
Associated Press

Saudi viewers angry over apparent ban on World Cup streaming

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — World Cup viewers in Saudi Arabia say the government has blocked a Qatari-owned streaming service that was supposed to broadcast matches in the kingdom. The suspension has stunned and outraged customers of TOD TV, which holds the rights to show the World Cup in Saudi Arabia. TOD TV is owned by […]
1 day ago
FILE - Vern Miyagi, Administrator, HEMA, left, and Hawaii Gov. David Ige addressed the media during...
Associated Press

Hawaii Gov. Ige looks back on coronavirus, tourism shutdown

HONOLULU (AP) — As Hawaii’s governor, David Ige faced a volcanic eruption that destroyed 700 homes, protests blocking construction of a cutting-edge multibillion-dollar telescope and a false alert about an incoming ballistic missile. During the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism shut down and Hawaii’s unemployment rate soared to 22.4%. Crisis response is one way to sum up […]
1 day ago
Sheetal Deo and her husband, Sanmeet Deo, hold a Hindu swastika symbol in their home in Syosset, N....
Associated Press

Asian faiths try to save sacred swastika corrupted by Hitler

Sheetal Deo was shocked when she got a letter from her Queens apartment building’s co-op board calling her Diwali decoration “offensive” and demanding she take it down. “My decoration said ‘Happy Diwali’ and had a swastika on it,” said Deo, a physician, who was celebrating the Hindu festival of lights. The equilateral cross with its […]
1 day ago
Sheetal Deo and her husband, Sanmeet Deo, hold a Hindu swastika symbol in their home in Syosset, N....
Associated Press

Asian faiths try to save swastika symbol corrupted by Hitler

Sheetal Deo was shocked when she got a letter from her Queens apartment building’s co-op board calling her Diwali decoration “offensive” and demanding she take it down. “My decoration said ‘Happy Diwali’ and had a swastika on it,” said Deo, a physician, who was celebrating the Hindu festival of lights. The equilateral cross with its […]
1 day ago
FILE - Republican nominee for U.S. Senate Herschel Walker speaks during a campaign rally on Thursda...
Associated Press

Ga. Senate runoff between Warnock, Walker has bitter closing

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — Ads with the candidates’ ex-wives. Cries of “liar” flying in both directions. Stories of a squalid apartment building and abortions under pressure. Questioning an opponent’s independence. His intellect. His mental stability. His religious faith. The extended Senate campaign in Georgia between the Democratic incumbent, Raphael Warnock, and his Republican challenger, […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former Minister for Health Matt Hancock arrives with MP's and Peers for a service of remembr...
Associated Press

Disgraced former UK minister seeks reality TV redemption

LONDON (AP) — Matt Hancock, the U.K’s scandal-prone former health secretary, is seeking an unlikely form of redemption Sunday: attempting to win “I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here” — a grueling, often gruesome reality show set in the Australian jungle. Hancock led Britain’s response to COVID-19 in the first year of the pandemic, […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Britain urges halt to Myanmar clashes to allow vaccination