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NEW YORK: UN Secretary General António Guterres on Friday appointed former Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop as his special envoy on Myanmar, reported German Press Agency (dpa).

Bishop, who served as Australian foreign minister from 2013 to 2018, replaces Singaporean diplomat Noeleen Heyzer, who stepped down in June.

Myanmar’s army ousted the de facto head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, in a violent coup in February 2021. A junta has imposed brutal rule over the country since then.

In February, the military announced it would enforce a compulsory military draft law. According to the military, the law affects around 14 million citizens: 6.3 million men and 7.7 million women.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has a population of around 55 million.

The UN said 2.8 million people have been displaced in the country, 90 per cent since the military takeover. Hunger is on the rise and there is a risk of malnutrition among children and pregnant women.

In 2024, the UN said 18.6 million people will need humanitarian assistance across the country. - Bernama, dpa