UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the military government is “solely responsible” for the violence and “must be held accountable”.
The UN human rights chief warned that violence was escalating across Myanmar, accusing the country’s military government of being “singularly responsible” for a “human rights catastrophe.”
In a statement on Friday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said several reports indicated that the armed conflict was continuing, including in Kayah, Chin and Kachin states, with particularly intense violence in areas with large ethnic and religious minority groups.
“There does not appear to be any de-escalation effort but rather a reinforcement of troops in key areas, contrary to the commitments made by the military to ASEAN to end the violence,” Bachelet said, referring to the regional bloc. of 10 members.
“In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe,” Ms. Bachelet added. “The military leadership is singularly responsible for this crisis and must be held responsible. “
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has led the main international diplomatic effort to find a solution to the crisis in Myanmar, since the country has been plunged into political turmoil following a military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February. 1.
The army’s takeover sparked daily pro-democracy protests that were met with a bloody security crackdown, as well as strikes that crippled the country’s economy and fighting in border areas between armed forces and armed groups of ethnic minorities.
ASEAN mediation has so far made little progress. Last week, two emissaries from the bloc traveled to Myanmar and met with senior military government officials, including military leader Min Aung Hlaing. The trip has been criticized by pro-democracy groups, who say they are excluded.
The UN, Western countries and China all support ASEAN’s peace efforts, but the Burmese military, known as Tatmadaw, paid little attention and instead touted the progress of its own. five-step plan to new elections.
“A disaster for human rights”
In its statement, the UN human rights office said more than 108,000 people have fled their homes in Kayah state over the past three weeks, many taking refuge in forest areas with little or no food, water, sanitation or medical aid.
Bachelet cited “credible reports” that security forces shelled civilian homes and churches and blocked access to humanitarian aid.
“The international community must unite in its demand that the Tatmadaw cease the outrageous use of heavy artillery against civilians and civilian objects,” Bachelet said.
She also said that the newly formed civilian forces, known as the People’s Defense Forces, and other armed groups, must take all measures to remove civilians from danger.
Bachelet is expected to brief the UN’s highest human rights body, the Human Rights Council, at its next session in July, his office said.
The statement also brings to 860 the number of people killed by security forces since the coup, most of them protesters. At least 4,804 others remain in arbitrary detention – including activists, journalists and opponents of the military government – and there are reports of detainees and family members of activists being tortured and punished, respectively. The mother of an activist was sentenced to three years in prison instead of her son on May 28, according to the UN office.
Aung San Suu Kyi was taken into custody as the military takeover unfolded and charged with a series of charges, including another on Thursday for alleged corruption. She is due to be tried on Monday.