UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said the military government is a “special responsibility” for the violence and “should be held accountable.”
The head of human rights at the United Nations has warned that violence is on the rise across Myanmar, and has called the country’s military government “particularly responsible” for the “human rights catastrophe”.
In one statement Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said on Friday that several reports indicated that armed conflict continued, including in the states of Kayah, Chin and Kachin, where violence is particularly intense in areas with major ethnic and religious minority groups.
“There seems to be no effort on the way to escalation, but rather the accumulation of troops in key areas, against the commitments made by the military to stop the violence by ASEAN,” Bachelet said, referring to the 10-member regional bloc.
“In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe,” Bachelet added. “The military leadership is solely responsible for this crisis, and it must be held accountable.”
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has led a major international diplomatic effort to find a solution to the Myanmar crisis since the country was ousted as a result of a military coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. 1.
Major military forces staged pro-democracy protests on a daily basis, strikes in bloody security crackdowns, as well as strikes that halted the country’s economy and border fighting between armed forces and armed groups of ethnic minorities.
ASEAN mediation has done so far little progress. Last week, two bloc leaders visited Myanmar and met with senior military officials in the government, including military leader Min Aung Hlaing. Pro-democracy groups criticized the trip, and say it closes.
The UN, Western countries and China support ASEAN’s peace efforts, but the Myanmar military, known as Tatmadaw, has not made much of a case and has instead signaled progress on a five-step plan for new elections.
‘Human rights disaster’
In a statement, the UN human rights office said more than 108,000 people had fled their homes in the state of Kayah in the past three weeks, and many had taken refuge in forest areas with little or no food, water, sanitation or health care.
Bachelet referred to “credible reports” that security forces have whitewashed civilian homes and churches and blocked access to humanitarian aid.
“The international community must unite in its demand that Tatmadaw stop using heavy artillery against civilians and civilian objects,” Bachelet said.
He also said that the newly formed civilian forces, known to the People’s Defense Forces and other armed groups, must take all measures to keep civilians away from harm.
Bachelet will update the UN’s main human rights body, the Human Rights Council, at its next session in July, his office said.
In the statement, security forces also noted the death toll from the coup to 860, most of them protesters. At least another 4,804 people are still in arbitrary detention – including activists, journalists and those opposed to the military government – who have been arrested and the relatives of the activists have been tortured and punished, respectively. According to the UN office, the mother of an activist was sentenced to three years in prison in lieu of her son on 28 May.
Aung San Suu Kyi was taken into custody while developing military property and charged with a string of charges, including new on Thursday for alleged corruption. He is in debt to go to trial on Monday.