1 February 2023
Two years ago today, the Burma Army made clear their sinister intentions for the country’s future. Despite an overwhelming victory in the 2020 election for the National League for Democracy, the junta’s coup was a desperate bid for legitimacy. It declared fraud without evidence while hijacking the systems in place that permitted a free and fair election to take place. Their failed coup has brought nothing but destruction while making a mockery of the rule of law. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) rejects the junta’s tyranny and calls for immediate international intervention to hold the military Generals accountable for their mass crimes.
In Southeastern Burma, in particular, Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region, the Burma Army has committed murder, torture, sexual assault and rape, arbitrary arrests and destruction of property, and many others. Innocent people have been killed in their homes, while others have been arbitrarily arrested, detained, and tortured. The regime has replaced judges with those willing to abide by its totalitarian, militarized agenda. The atrocities perpetrated are ongoing. They are systematic, widespread, and take place with impunity. Without action, the junta-backed battalions are encouraged to continue their campaign of terror.
The world must not forget about the plight of the people in Burma. Every day has become one of survival. Livelihood opportunities have been forcibly put on hold as fighting in civilian areas makes it unsafe, if not impossible, to resume their daily work. Landmines litter their villages and farms. Children are also forced to continue their learning in the jungle as the junta targets schools in air and ground strikes. Women and young girls detained in military custody are not safe. HURFOM has observed an escalation of conflict-related sexual violence since 1 February 2021. The chaos and fear-fueled environment created by the junta has led to over 100,000 civilians fleeing their homes in Southeastern Burma alone. Country-wide, there are over one million who are internally displaced.
With so much injustice regularly being enforced, the international community must intervene. A global arms embargo would end weapon access for the Burma Army, who carelessly fire their guns into villages. Sanctions on aviation fuel would stop the air strikes that killed children in their schools. Finally, a long overdue referral of the Burma Army to the International Criminal Court would set an important precedent that no one is above the law.
The military Generals and their soldiers have blood on their hands. The future of Burma belongs to those who believe that everyone is equal and deserving of their fundamental human rights. The global community must use their platforms and diplomatic will to change the course of history. This begins with measures and concrete steps that prosecute Min Aung Hlaing and end his legacy of tyranny.
HURFOM was founded by exiled pro-democracy students from the 1988 uprisings, recent activists and Mon community leaders and youth. Its primary objective is restoring 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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