Blatant Disregard for Human Rights in Burma by the Junta Demands an Urgent,
and Coordinated Response by the International Community
On this International Human Rights Day, commemorated on 10 December, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) calls for immediate support for victims of the Burma Army’s ongoing attacks. This year’s international theme for Human Rights Day is ‘freedom, justice and dignity.’ In Southeastern Burma, particularly in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region, HURFOM has documented the unlawful arrest and detainment of over 3000 people, at least 642 injured and 191 killed by the military junta since the attempted coup on 1 February 2021. They are being denied all meaningful pathways which would ensure their freedom and access to justice in a dignified manner.
The people of Burma had continued to suffer immensely in the nearly two years since the leaders of the military made a deliberate, coordinated decision to pursue power rather than support the democratic process. The human rights situation across Burma is in decay. The rule of law no longer exists under reasonable means. Consequently, hundreds of political prisoners face unjust sentences, including executions. A lack of access to health or education and increased surveillance has only amplified resistance to the Burma Army. No one is safe under the guise of the military.
Despite overwhelming evidence of the widespread atrocities committed by the Burma Army, including those amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the international community has been slow to respond. The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) alone has collected more than three-million pieces of information from at least 200 sources since its inception, which began three years ago.
HURFOM is among the dozens of civil society organizations documenting the military junta’s widespread and systematic assaults. And yet, for so many, there remains a complete lack of reparations for the horrors perpetrated against them. Survival in the current reality in Burma has become a desolate, lonely, and profoundly traumatizing experience.
Theft, extortion, arbitrary arrest, and murder are among the human rights violations on the rise in Burma. Armed with weapons and orders of ‘shoot to kill,’ civilians are left with little choice when facing soldiers who are demanding their possessions. Fear of the certainty that their lives will end if confronted by Burma Army soldiers, thousands have fled their villages and dare not return. The humanitarian crisis in Burma is worsening daily as hundreds of thousands are left without access to food, medicine, water, and shelter. For the most vulnerable, their lives face unmatched perils.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) acknowledges the inherent right to a dignified life that every citizen is granted without objection. And yet, in Burma, the rights enshrined in the UDHR are nowhere to be found. The backsliding of human rights is evident in the lack of protection and reliable justice pathways available.
HURFOM reinforces our calls for an arms embargo and aviation fuel sanctions to end the targeted air and ground strikes that intentionally seek to kill the civilian population. A referral of the Burma Army must urgently be made to the International Criminal Court. The junta has done nothing to warrant legitimacy, and as such, global actors must denounce their affiliations and work with the National Unity Government to help restore democracy in Burma. Further, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations must hold a firm line with the junta and keep them to account.
The resistance on the ground is admirable. Women and men of all ages have responded to the junta’s brutality with fierce opposition and determination. But the bullets fired from the Burma Army’s guns do not discriminate. A weapon has only one objective; to kill. How many more innocent lives lost will it take before the world responds to the human rights situation in Burma?
Nai Aue Mon, HURFOM Program Director
Signal: +66 86 167 9741
HURFOM was founded by exiled pro-democracy students from the 1988 uprisings, recent activists and Mon community leaders and youth. Its primary objective is the restoration of democracy, human rights and genuine peace in Burma. HURFOM is a non-profit organization, and all its members are volunteers with a shared vision for peace in the country.
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