WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
Suu Kyi faces court hearing
UN envoy warns of Myanmar civil war amid violence
Published: Apr 01, 2021 07:48 PM
Myanmar's ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi faced a court hearing Thursday, after a UN envoy warned of the risk of civil war and an imminent "bloodbath" in the country.

More than 535 people have died in daily demonstrations since the military overthrew Suu Kyi on February 1, halting Myanmar's decade-old experiment in democracy.

The UN Security Council held an urgent closed-door session on the escalating crisis on Wednesday, and special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener urged it to act.

"I appeal to this council to consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve," she said.

She said she remained open to dialogue with the junta but added, "If we wait only for when they are ready to talk, the ground situation will only worsen. A bloodbath is imminent."

Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said China is concerned about the situation in Myanmar. 

"Violence and bloodshed serve no one's interests, and it is the people of Myanmar who suffer," Zhang told the Security Council, according to the Chinese Mission to the UN.

"China hopes that all parties in Myanmar can keep calm, exercise restraint, and take ­actions with a constructive ­attitude to de-escalate and cool down the situation," he said. 

"The lives and properties of the people of Myanmar and foreign nationals and businesses should be protected, and any attack on them is unacceptable."

The emergency UN session came on the eve of Suu Kyi's latest court hearing - she faces a raft of criminal charges that could see her barred from office for life.

Her legal team on Wednesday held their first meeting with her - by video link in a police station - since she was ousted and detained in the early hours of February 1.

The 75-year-old has not been seen in public, but her lawyers said she appeared to be in good health despite two months in detention. The hearing on Thursday was expected to be brief, and to deal only with administrative aspects of the case.

The junta is also probing the Nobel laureate over allegations she took payments of gold and more than $1 million in cash, but Khin Maung Zaw, one of her lawyers, said these were not likely to translate into formal charges at this stage.

A group of ousted MPs from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, who have been working underground against the junta, have announced plans for "a new civilian government" in the first week of April.
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