Atrocity Alert is a weekly publication by the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect highlighting situations where populations are at risk of, or are enduring, mass atrocity crimes.
MYANMAR’S MILITARY CONTINUES ABUSES IN “UNENDING HUMAN RIGHTS CRISIS”
Throughout the two years since Myanmar’s (Burma) military launched a coup in February 2021, they have perpetrated a scorched earth campaign around the country in an effort to quash the opposition, according to a new report from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). One of the most frequently utilized tactics by the military is the systematic and widespread burning of villages and dwellings. Nearly 39,000 houses around Myanmar have been burnt or destroyed in military operations since February 2022, marking a more than 1,000-fold increase compared to 2021. Sagaing Region – a resistance stronghold in the northwest – was the most impacted, accounting for more than 25,500 homes.
The military’s continued access to aviation fuel has, in part, facilitated the commission of these unlawful and indiscriminate airstrikes. Despite some targeted sanctions, aviation fuel deliveries continue to be offloaded to ports in Myanmar, according to a recent investigation by Amnesty International and Global Witness. Companies in Greece, India, Japan and Switzerland have been involved in fuel shipments. Since mid-2022, OHCHR documented an increase in aerial attacks by the military, as well as the widespread and indiscriminate use of artillery against villages and towns across the country. Although most of the intense violence remains concentrated in northwestern and southeastern Myanmar, OHCHR reported that nearly 80 percent of the country’s 330 townships have been affected by clashes.
Since the coup, populations also face daily human rights violations and abuses, including killings, arbitrary arrests, displacement, torture and enforced disappearances. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, stated, “There are reasonable grounds to believe that the military and its affiliated militias continue to be responsible for most violations, some of which may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes,” and stressed that “Tragically, regional and global efforts for peace and restraint have largely fallen on deaf ears. The military, emboldened by continuous and absolute impunity, has consistently shown disregard for international obligations and principles. Urgent, concrete action is needed to end this festering catastrophe.”
The military’s continuous violence and commission of atrocity crimes have sparked an unending human rights and protection crisis. Savita Pawnday, Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, said, “The international community must heed the recommendations of the UN’s Human Rights Office, including urging the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, all companies should immediately stop supplying aviation fuel to Myanmar and conduct appropriate human rights due diligence to ensure their supply chains no longer enable the military’s unlawful attacks.”
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