Displaying items by tag: military violence
What began as a coup by the Myanmar military has ‘rapidly morphed’ into an all-out attack against the civilian population that has become increasingly widespread and systematic, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned on 6 July, 2021.
Speaking at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet reiterated that the situation in the country has evolved from a political crisis in early February to a “multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe”, repeating a formulation she first used a month ago.
Since the coup, nearly 900 people have been killed while around 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes because of violent military raids on neighbourhoods and villages. “Suffering and violence throughout the country are devastating prospects for sustainable development and raise the possibility of State failure or a broader civil war”, she cautioned.
Ms. Bachelet explained that the catastrophic developments since February have had a severe and wide-ranging impact on human rights, peace and security, and sustainable development. “They are generating clear potential for massive insecurity, with fallout for the wider region”. The UN High Commissioner urged the international community to stand united in pressuring the military to halt its continuing attacks on the people of Myanmar and return the country to democracy, reflecting the ‘clear will of the people’.
She said the UN system must not fail the country a second time”, she added, citing the 2019 review of UN action in the country, by Gert Rosenthal. She also advised swift action to restore a working democracy before the human rights situation in the country deteriorates further. “This should be reinforced by Security Council action. I urge all States to act immediately to give effect to the General Assembly's call to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar”, Ms. Bachelet said.
UN Agencies estimate that over 6 million people are severely in need of food aid and forecast that nearly half the population could fall into poverty by early 2022. “A void has been opened for the most harmful – and criminal – forms of illicit economy to flourish”, she underscored.
She denounced indiscriminate airstrikes, shelling, civilian killings and mass displacement. Civil voices are also being silenced: over 90 journalists have been arrested and eight major media outlets shuttered. “We have also received multiple reports of enforced disappearances; brutal torture and deaths in custody; and the arrest of relatives or children in lieu of the person being sought”, she said.
She added that people across the country continue peaceful protests despite the massive use of lethal force, including heavy weaponry, and a ‘civil disobedience movement has brought many military-controlled government structures to a standstill’.
Some people, in many parts of Myanmar, have taken up arms and formed self-protection groups. These newly formed groups have launched attacks in several locations, to which the security forces have responded with disproportionate force, she noted.
“I am concerned that this escalation in violence could have horrific consequences for civilians. All armed actors must respect and protect human rights and ensure that civilians and civilian structures such as health centres and schools are protected”.
Pray that every bit of suffering, injustice, and heartache in Myanmar will be redeemed by the Lord for good.
Pray that the people of Myanmar would hunger for the hope of the Gospel and find that all their longings are satisfied in Jesus (Colossians 1:27)
Thousands of Christian villagers fled military bombardment in Karen State on the same day that Myanmar leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was ousted from power in a military coup. The army shelled districts of mainly Christian ethnic Karen villagers, forcing them to escape into inhospitable mountainous jungle with what little they could carry. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest since Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, were overthrown three months after winning a landslide election They have been replaced with a military government. The ethnic cleansing tactics used by the army against the Kachin were condemned in a 2018 UN Human Rights Council report with many testimonies of torture, rape and other abuses by military personnel. In 2020, 100,000 predominantly Christian Kachin remained scattered across 138 refugee camps, in crowded conditions with little sanitation and at great risk from coronavirus.