It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country, says Michelle Bachelet
The security forces in Myanmar must halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday.
“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protesters” she said, according to her office in Geneva.
“It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country.
“I am also appalled at the documented attacks against emergency medical staff and ambulances attempting to provide care to those who have been injured,” said the high commissioner.
The UN Human Rights Office has corroborated information that at least 54 people have been killed by police and military officers since the February 1 coup.
The actual death toll, however, could be much higher as these are the figures the Office has been able to verify.
“Many of the arbitrary arrests and detentions that have been carried out since 1 February may constitute enforced disappearances,” Bachelet said, calling for the immediate release of all those who remain arbitrarily detained.
According to the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, an enforced disappearance occurs where an individual is detained by or with the acquiescence of state actors and there is no official acknowledgement or information about the individuals’ wellbeing and whereabouts.
The high commissioner also expressed concern at the targeting of journalists: at least 29 journalists have reportedly been arrested in recent days, at least eight of whom have been charged with crimes, including incitement to the opposition, or hatred of the government, or attending an unlawful assembly.
“I urge all those with information and influence – including Myanmar officials who are now joining the civil disobedience movement – to support international efforts to hold military leaders accountable for the serious human rights violations that have been committed both now and in the past,” she said, citing the work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and proceedings before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“This is the moment to turn the tables towards justice and end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar,” she added.