United Nations special envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said 38 people died on Wednesday in the South Asian country after the military launched an unprecedented crackdown on the citizens protesting the coup staged last month, Reuters reported.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of her National League for Democracy. The NLD won a landslide election in November, but the military has claimed the vote was fraudulent.
Burgener called Wednesday the “bloodiest day” since the military coup, with 38 people dead, according to AFP. “We have now more than over 50 people died since the coup started and many are wounded,” she added.
Burgener said she had warned Myanmar’s deputy military chief Soe Win that the military was likely to face strong measures from some countries and isolation in retaliation for the coup. But the military told her that it was ready to withstand sanctions.
“The answer was: ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived’,” she told reporters in New York. “When I also warned they will go in an isolation, the answer was: ‘We have to learn to walk with only few friends’.”
Multiple countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada and the European Union, have implemented or are considering targeted sanctions to squeeze the military and its business allies. On February 11, the US had sanctioned 10 generals, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the coup. A week later, it imposed a fresh round of restrictions on two more generals.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council has also voiced concern over the state of emergency. But the global body stopped short of condemning the coup last month because of opposition by Russia and China, who view the developments as internal affairs of Myanmar.
“I hope that they recognise that it’s not only an internal affair, it hits the stability of the region,” Burgener said of China and Russia.