UN Rights Chief slams large scale violations in Myanmar

NEW YORK: Nearly two years on from Myanmar’s brutal military coup against the democratically-elected government, the Southeast Asian country has sunk deeper than ever into crisis, undergoing a wholesale regression in human rights, UN human rights chief Volker Turk has said.
“By nearly every feasible measurement, and in every area of human rights – economic, social and cultural, as much as civil and political – Myanmar has profoundly regressed,” he said in a statement.
Citing credible sources, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Right (OHCHR) said that at least 2,890 people have died at the hands of the military and others working with them, of whom at least 767 were initially taken into custody, adding that it was almost certainly an underestimate on the numbers killed by the military.
A staggering 1.2 million Burmese have been internally displaced, and over 70,000 have left the country — joining more than a million others who have fled, including the bulk of the country’s Rohingya Muslim population, who’ve suffered decades of sustained persecution and attacks, OHCHR noted.
“Despite clear legal obligations for the military to protect civilians in the conduct of hostilities, there has been consistent disregard for the related rules of international law”, Turk, the head of OHCHR, added.
“Far from being spared, civilians have been the actual targets of attacks – victims of targeted and indiscriminate artillery barrages and air strikes, extrajudicial executions, the use of torture, and the burning of whole villages.” The UN rights chief saluted the courage of all those who have lost their lives so far “in the struggle for freedom and dignity in Myanmar, and the continuing pain and suffering of their families and loved ones.”
Credible information indicates that over 34,000 civilian structures, including homes, clinics, schools and places of worship, have been burned over the past two years, the rights office said.
And Myanmar’s economy has collapsed with nearly half of the population now living below the poverty line.
Since 1st February 2021, the military has imprisoned the entire democratically elected leadership of the country and, in subsequent months, detained over 16,000 others – most of whom face specious charges in military-controlled courts, in flagrant breach of due process and fair trial rights, linked to their refusal to accept the military’s actions, OHCHR underlined. –Agencies