More than 10 months since Myanmar’s military seized power, the country’s human rights situation is deepening on an unprecedented scale, the UN rights office, OHCHR, has warned.
In a strongly worded statement on Friday, OHCHR said that it was “appalled by the alarming escalation of grave human rights abuses” in the country.
“In the last week alone, security forces have killed and burned to death 11 people, among them five minors, and rammed vehicles into protesters exercising their fundamental right to peaceful assembly”, said Spokesperson Rupert Colville at a news briefing in Geneva.
In addition, serious violations are “reported daily of the rights to life, liberty and security of person, the prohibition against torture, the right to a fair trial, and freedom of expression,” he added.
On Tuesday, a unit of the Myanmar army was reportedly ambushed by militia forces with a remote-controlled explosive device in Salingyi Township of Sagaing Region.
Security personnel responded by raiding the village of Done Taw and arresting six men and five minors, the youngest of whom was only 14 years old, according to local reports.
Villagers, who said they saw fire coming from the area, later found 11 charred male bodies.
“The villagers indicated that human corpses were contorted into shapes that appeared as though they were trying to shelter one another and escape from burning huts”, Mr. Colville said.
In a separate incident on Sunday, security forces in Kyimyindaing Township, Yangon, rammed a vehicle into unarmed protesters and then fired on them with live ammunition, leaving several casualties.
“These attacks are heinous, completely unacceptable, and disregard common values of humanity”, said the UN official. “They are also far from isolated”.
In recent weeks, the UN Human Rights Office has received multiple reports of villages being burned, including protected structures, such as places of religious worship and residential buildings.
In Thantlang town in Chin State, credible sources reported that the military torched 19 civilian and religious buildings and 450 homes in 10 different incidents”, he said.
And a few weeks ago in Kayah State, villagers were reportedly burned alive when the place they were sheltering in was allegedly set ablaze by security forces.
Other instances of abuse
Since the coup, General Min Aung Hlaing’s forces have repeatedly failed to respect their obligations under international law to protect the country’s people, said Mr. Colville.
As a result, more than 1,300 individuals have lost their lives and another 10,600 have been detained.
“These latest grave violations demand a firm, unified and resolute international response that redoubles efforts to pursue accountability for the Myanmar military and the restoration of democracy in Myanmar”, he underscored.
Today “the courageous and resilient people of Myanmar” staged a universal silent protest to oppose the coup while also marking Human Rights Day, said the spokesperson.
Commemorated annually on 10 December, the Day honours the UN General Assembly’s 1948 adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global enunciation entitling a broad range of fundamental rights and freedoms for everyone.