8th March 2021 – London/Yangon — The Burmese military seized power since 1st February 2021 and made a series of arrests. In addition to carrying out violent crackdowns on civilians, the use of military rifles, tear gas, machine guns, and live ammunition have been rampant in various parts of the country. At least 55 people have been killed in protests across the country and several activists and NLD members have been arrested. Among those killed, beaten, or injured have been minors, women, and humanitarian workers. Most notably, Red Cross members were detained and tortured. These events have led to widespread condemnation and increased sanctions on the Burmese generals by many nations around the world, but none have taken actions significant enough to stop or even deter the human rights abuses being committed by the Burmese security forces.
Since 3rd March the deaths of protesters by live ammunition have risen significantly, though protesters have also been killed or seriously injured by rubber bullets. Widespread arrests continue against perceived activists and National League for Democracy (NLD) party members with worsening human rights violations. Arrests have included severe beatings by security officers and many in detention have died while in custody. In Muse, Northern Shan State, the dead body of NLD member Thein Lwin, who was arrested for participating in a protest was returned by police on 5th March 2021.
On the same day at around 11:15 am, in Magway Region, Htwe Naing, chairman of the NLD, was stabbed to death by a group of Tatmadaw supporters in Kyaung Kone Gyi village, Pwint Phyu Township. On the night of 6th March 2021, U Khin Maung Latt, 58 years old, ward chair for the NLD in Pabedan Township, was violently beaten and arrested. On the morning of 7th March 2021, he was pronounced dead at the scene with head and face injuries. Burma has ratified the Geneva Convention, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crimes of Genocide, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Aside from its international obligations, Burma is obligated to comply with international norms, like the Prohibition of Crimes Against Humanity. Burma’s widespread and systematic use of murder, torture, and arbitrary detention against protesters and civilians squarely puts them in violation of both their formal agreements and international norms.
“The world cannot allow for these peaceful protesters who are practicing their democratic rights to be butchered by the snipers deployed by the fascist military on the streets. Individual countries that believe in Democratic values should consider intervention to protect the peaceful protesters before the hope for Democracy is murdered by the Fascist military in Burma. The UN has a responsibility to protect the civilians but has failed to do so. They must learn from their past mistakes and must react swiftly now,” said BHRN Executive Director Kyaw Win.
Ward administrations appointed by the military have been rejected by the population so far. With the rise of the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and international pressure, the Fascist military junta has responded by harassing and abusing the people in escalating ways, including using a series of sound bombs at night, using live ammunition and shooting into homes, arson attack on residential areas, and massively disproportionate force against the protests. The fascist military is now stationing their troops at hospitals and universities and using these premises as their bases. BHRN strongly urges the international community to effectively prevent these violations, as the masses continue to protest non- violently, despite the threats of arrest and death by the ruling fascist military council. The international community must immediately impose an arms embargo and impose targeted sanctions against the companies owned by the military and their cronies. The international community, especially the countries governed by democratically elected governments, should stand with the people of Burma at this critical time. BHRN is asking neighbouring countries, including members of ASEAN, to stop supporting the fascist military that has been brutally oppressing the people of Burma for decades.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378