Speaking in the 47th session of Human Rights CouncilMichelle Bachelet emphasized that the situation in the country had developed from a political crisis in early February to a “multidimensional disaster for human rights”, reiterating the wordingUsed it for the first time a month ago.
Since the coup, nearly 900 people have been killed while about 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to violent military raids on neighborhoods and villages.
“Suffering and violence across the country are potentially devastating to sustainable development and increase the possibility of state failure or a broader civil war,” she warned.
Ms. Bachelet explained that the catastrophic developments since February had a severe and widespread impact on human rights, peace, security and sustainable development.
“They are generating clear potential for widespread insecurity, with repercussions for the broader region.”
The UN High Commissioner urged the international community to stand united in pressuring the military to stop its ongoing attacks on the people of Myanmar and to return the country to democracy, reflecting the “clear will of the people”.
The United Nations must act
She added, citing a 2019 review of the United Nations’ work in the country, by Gert Rosenthal.
It also advised that swift action be taken to restore a functioning democracy before the human rights situation in the country deteriorates further.
“This must be reinforced by Security Council Action. Ms. Bachelet said I urge all nations to act immediately to implement the General Assembly’s call to prevent arms flows into Myanmar.
Unsplash / Saw Wunna
Hunger, violence and poverty
Ms Bachelet said the coronavirus had had a “catastrophic” impact on an economy that relied on remittances, the apparel industry and other sectors that had been devastated by the resulting global recession.
UN agencies estimate that more than 6 million people are in dire need of food assistance and expect nearly half of the population to fall into poverty by early 2022.
She stressed that “a vacuum has been opened to the flourishing of the most harmful – and criminal” form of the illicit economy.
Meanwhile, a nationwide general strike, along with the widespread dismissal of civil servants – including teachers and medical personnel – has cut off many essential services in the country.
Since 1 February, at least 240 attacks on healthcare facilities, medical personnel, ambulances and patients have been disrupted. COVID-19 Testing, treatment and vaccination.
extreme violence and oppression
It condemned the indiscriminate air strikes, shelling, killing of civilians and mass displacement. Civic voices are also silenced: more than 90 journalists have been arrested and eight major media outlets closed.
We also received several reports of enforced disappearances. brutal torture and deaths in custody; and arrest relatives or children instead of the wanted person,” she said.
Unsplash / Gayatri Malhotra
Despite the repression, the UN High Commissioner noted that the military leadership had not succeeded in securing control of Myanmar, nor had it obtained the international recognition it sought.
“On the contrary, its brutal tactics led to the outbreak of a national uprising that changed the political equation,” she added.
She added that people across the country are continuing peaceful protests despite the extensive use of lethal force, including heavy weapons, and “the civil disobedience movement has brought many government structures controlled by the military to a halt.”
Some people took up arms in many parts of Myanmar and formed self-protection groups. She pointed out that these newly formed groups launched attacks in several locations, to which the security forces responded with disproportionate force.
“I am concerned that this escalation of violence may have severe consequences for civilians. All armed actors must respect and protect human rights and ensure the protection of civilians and civilian structures such as health centers and schools.”
Any future democratic government in Myanmar must have the authority to exercise effective civilian control over the military. The High Commissioner concluded that the international community should build on the range of international accountability mechanisms already engaged, so that transitional justice measures are truly feasible at the national level.”