UN Human Rights Council urged to act against Burmese army

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s main opposition organization, led by the military, on Wednesday urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to act firmly to restore democracy in the Southeast Asian country. Is, arguing that the international community should impose sanctions and other pressure on the country’s generals. .

The council, at its meeting in Geneva, received a similar call from Thomas Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.

A report submitted the day before by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said evidence suggests that Myanmar’s military leadership bears responsibility for abuses constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes. The military seized power a year ago from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and since then has ruthlessly sought to suppress widespread opposition to her rule.

The national unity government has said it wants the international community to take action against the army, including sanctions and prosecutions under international law. The group, created by elected Burmese lawmakers who were barred from sitting, sees itself as the country’s legitimate administrative body, although it is forced to operate underground. Initial efforts are underway to take the matter to the International Criminal Court.

Andrews, in a report covering much of the same ground as Bachelet, noted “the strong and swift action taken by (UN) member states on behalf of the people of Ukraine and implores the international community to act in the same way.” same way to protect the people of Myanmar, who too are besieged by a brutal and relentless military attack.

Although many Western countries have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s military rulers, broader international pressure on them has been thwarted by Russia and China, which provide the generals with diplomatic and material support.

The report by Bachelet’s human rights office accuses Myanmar’s security forces of showing “blatant disregard for human life, bombarding populated areas with airstrikes and heavy weapons, and deliberately targeting civilians, many of whom were shot in the head, burned to death, arbitrarily arrested, tortured or used as human shields.”

He charged that the tactics of the army – known as Tatmadaw – including the targeted shooting in the head and the self-immolation of victims, “suggest that such conduct is not wrongdoing or misconduct. of a few, but rather the result of transmitted instructions”. through the command structure to use lethal force against civilians.

“Given the extent, type and level of atrocity of Tatmadaw’s actions, it is highly unlikely that the soldiers acted independently outside the chain of command.” says the report.

The alleged crimes include murder, forcible population transfer, imprisonment, torture, politically motivated persecution and enforced disappearance.

“The appalling scope and scale of the violations of international law suffered by the people of Myanmar demands a firm, unified and resolute international response,” Bachelet said.

The report states that more than a fifth of the more than 1,500 deaths credibly attributed to the actions of the security forces were people who died in custody, “either from lack of adequate medical care for injuries suffered by victims as a result of repressions and raids, or as a result of cruel and inhuman treatment and torture, especially during interrogation.”

In cases where the bodies of the victims were returned to their families, they showed signs of abuse.

In addition to repressing its opponents in the cities, the army is carrying out a large-scale offensive in the countryside to wipe out local militias opposed to the military regime.

The offensives are being carried out with airstrikes, helicopter gunships, artillery and mortars, and would include “indiscriminate attacks often in populated areas, with blatant disregard for human life and property”, according to the report.

“It has been well documented that arson is a feature of Tatmadaw operations, mostly perpetrated after the displacement of villagers,” he said.

The report also contains rare criticism of forces opposing the military regime, noting their alleged involvement in forced and child recruitment as well as the use of landmines.

It also draws attention to 543 people who, since last May, “would have been killed because of their alleged support for the army”. He said the victims include at least 166 local administrators named or linked to the ruling military council or their family members, 47 members of the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development party and 214 suspected military informants.

“It is not possible to attribute most of these deaths to particular actors, but anti-coup armed elements claimed responsibility for 95 incidents,” he said. The government of national unity disavows such actions and also claims to respect international laws governing armed conflict.

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