Myanmar ditched as host of Miss Grand International beauty pageant over civil war

4 weeks ago 47

Updated

May 23, 2024, 06:32 PM

Published

May 23, 2024, 06:32 PM

BANGKOK – Myanmar has been scrapped as the host of the 2024 Miss Grand International beauty pageant due to the civil war roiling the country, the event’s organisers said on May 23.

Dozens of contestants were slated to arrive in the commercial hub Yangon in October to compete in the pageant, hosted by Thailand-based Miss Grand International.

“We confirm that MGI 2024 will no longer be held in Myanmar due to the current situation,” Mr Ratchaphol Chantaratim, a representative for the company, said.

An alternate venue “will be announced later”, he added.

Myanmar opened up to tourists in 2011 following decades of military rule, becoming popular with travellers seeking a new destination away from the well-trodden backpacker haunts of South-east Asia.

However, foreign arrivals have plummeted since the military seized power again in 2021 and sparked a widespread armed uprising.

Around 2.7 million people have been displaced by the conflict, according to the United Nations, and the military has been accused of mass atrocities as it struggles to crush opposition to its rule.

Most of the fighting is taking place outside Yangon, but opponents of the junta regularly bomb buildings linked to the security forces and carry out assassinations of its supporters in the city.

A night-time curfew remains in place in the city of some eight million, and security forces carry out regular raids and arrests of suspected dissidents.

Power blackouts frequently plunge whole neighbourhoods into darkness and access to ATMs and foreign exchange counters is patchy.

Many Western embassies advise against travel to Myanmar.

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