UN Investigator Warns of Increased Violence in Myanmar

UN Investigator Warns of Increased Violence in Myanmar
Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

What you need to know

More than a quarter million children have been displaced by junta attacks, hundreds have been killed or maimed, and more than 1,400 arbitrarily detained, said the UN special rapporteur.

By Lisa Schlein

Geneva — U.N. investigator Thomas Andrews is warning that Myanmar’s military junta is increasing its brutal campaign of violence, resorting to massacres, and widespread human rights violations to maintain its iron grip. The report has been submitted to the U.N. human rights council.

The United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, is calling on the outside world to act to bring Myanmar’s military leaders to account.

He warns failure to take needed action will cause irreparable harm to the population and be a death sentence for untold numbers of people. He said conditions in the country have worsened since he last reported to the council three months ago.

Andrews said the ruling generals have accelerated their bloody campaign against political opponents, killing more than 2,000 civilians, and arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning more than 11,000. He said junta forces have relentlessly bombed villages with fighter jets, killing men, women, and children.

“I regularly receive reports of new massacres of unarmed civilians. Victims often include children and those who are physically unable to flee the advance of soldiers and military-backed militias. In my view these repeated attacks on civilians—as well as other grave human rights violations—constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” he said.

Andrews said Myanmar’s children are among the most frequent victims of this crisis. He reports more than a quarter million children have been displaced by junta attacks, hundreds have been killed or maimed, and more than 1,400 arbitrarily detained.

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Photo Credit: AP/ TPG Images
Youth activists and Buddhist monks participate in an anti-military government protest rally while holding a banner that reads in Burmese, “Who dares to stay on the opposite side of the people’s will,” on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, in Mandalay, Myanmar. The new U.N. special envoy for Myanmar says violence has intensified since the military took power a year ago and sparked a resistance movement in the country.

Since last year’s military coup, he said 142 children have been tortured. He said they have been beaten, cut, stabbed, and subjected to other horrific physical and mental abuse. He said they have been subjected to mock executions and sexually assaulted.

“At least 61 children are currently being held hostage by the junta to force adult family members who support the opposition to give themselves up … 33,000 children could die of preventable deaths this year alone, merely because they have missed routine immunizations,” said the U.N. special rapporteur.

Andrews warns conditions in Myanmar will keep deteriorating if other countries continue to ignore the situation. He calls for international action.

He said the Security Council must consider a resolution concerning Myanmar. He urges members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders.

Myanmar did not respond to the report because the United Nations does not recognize the legitimacy of the current government.

The News Lens has been authorized to publish this article from Voice of America.

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