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UN: Myanmar military crackdown is state violence against people

  • Published at 06:20 pm March 16th, 2021
Myanmar
Tear gas and fire extinguisher gas float around demonstrators during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 Reuters

Everyone with influence has a responsibility to end the killing and detention

The United Nations has described the Myanmar military crackdown that has claimed many lives so far as state violence against its people.

The human rights body of the UN has also reminded those entities with influence over Myanmar that they have a responsibility to end the ongoing killing and detention.

"We are deeply disturbed that the crackdown continues to intensify, and we again call on the military to stop killing and detaining protestors," according to Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on Tuesday.

"As the High Commissioner has stressed, all those with influence have a responsibility to take measures to bring an end to this State violence against the Myanmar people," she said in a statement.

The death toll has soared over the past week in Myanmar, where security forces have been using lethal force increasingly aggressively against peaceful protesters, and continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain people throughout the country, it said

"Deeply distressing reports of torture in custody have also emerged. Hundreds of people who have been unlawfully detained remain unaccounted for and have not been acknowledged by the military authorities, and this amounts to enforced disappearances," it added.


Also Read - Yangon residents flee martial law area as Myanmar death toll grows


"Confirming information is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly with the imposition of martial law in a number of townships in and around Yangon and in Mandalay, but also because many of the working class neighbourhoods where people have been killed and displaced are easier to cut off through State-imposed communication blackouts.

“We have, however, managed to confirm that at least 149 people have been arbitrarily deprived of their lives since 1 February, as a result of unlawful use of lethal force against peaceful protesters in Myanmar. Of these, at least 11 were killed on Monday, and 57 over the weekend. There are many more reports of further killings that we have not been able to corroborate yet," stated the statement.

These figures include people killed during a violent crackdown in the Hlaing Tharyar, a township in Yangon, by security forces after unknown actors set fire to Chinese-operated or invested factories, it said. 

The statement continued: "The military authorities also declared martial law in a number of townships in and around Yangon and Mandalay. Under these terms, military law would apply to civilians with both stricter curfews and subjecting offenders to military tribunals with no right of appeal.

“Arrests and detentions have continued throughout the country, with more than 2,084 people remaining arbitrarily detained. At least 37 journalists have been arrested, of whom 19 remain in arbitrary detention. At least five deaths in custody have occurred in recent weeks, and at least two victims’ bodies have shown signs of severe physical abuse indicating that they were tortured."

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