Member states cannot afford to be complacent while the junta ruthlessly attacks medical personnel as Covid-19 spreads unchecked, says the special rapporteur
A United Nations independent expert has urged the UN Security Council and member states to push for an emergency "Covid-19 ceasefire" in Myanmar in light of an explosion of coronavirus infections and deaths.
Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, made the call on Tuesday, as the military authorities in Myanmar escalate their attacks against health care workers, according to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
He stressed the urgent need for member states to use all the tools of the global body, including the passage of resolutions demanding that the Myanmar authorities immediately cease all attacks, especially against health care professionals who are desperately needed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic that continues to devastate the country.
“Too many in Myanmar have needlessly perished and too many more will die without action by the United Nations,” Andrews warned. “The UN must act immediately to halt the military junta’s attacks, harassment, and detentions in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis.
“Member states of the United Nations cannot afford to be complacent while the junta ruthlessly attacks medical personnel as Covid-19 spreads unchecked.
"They must act to end this violence so that doctors and nurses can provide life-saving care and international organisations can help deliver vaccinations and related medical care,” Andrews said.
“Member States with influence on Myanmar’s State Administrative Council must follow the passage of a UN resolution by urging an immediate cessation of attacks,” he said.
The military junta has murdered at least 931 people and is holding at least 5,630 in arbitrary detention where they are in danger of being infected with the virus.
Another 255 people have been sentenced for trumped-up crimes, with 26 of them - two of whom are minors - sentenced to death.
According to the UNHCR, there are 570,320 internally displaced persons currently living in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Shan, Kayin, Mon, and Bago states.
Junta forces have engaged in at least 260 attacks against medical personnel and facilities, claiming the lives of at least 18 people.
Over 600 health care professionals are currently eluding outstanding arrest warrants and at least 67 are being held by junta forces.