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Myanmar now a ’never-ending’ nightmare: UN

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 00:56, 2 March 2024  
Myanmar now a ’never-ending’ nightmare: UN

Photo: Collected

Three years of military rule in Myanmar have inflicted unbearable cruelty, leaving people trapped in an unending nightmare as the conflict spreads, the UN human rights chief said Friday.

The junta is crushing all forms of dissent with total impunity, Volker Turk told the UN Human Rights Council, urging the United Nations' top rights body and countries to focus on preventing further atrocities.

"The human rights situation in Myanmar has morphed into a never-ending nightmare, away from the spotlight of global politics," Turk said, reports BSS/AFP.

"Armed conflict has escalated and spread to nearly every corner of the country. Three years of military rule have inflicted -- and continue to inflict -- unbearable levels of suffering and cruelty on people in Myanmar."

He said the junta was cracking down on any opposition with "total abuse of power", while development in the Southeast Asian nation was now in freefall.

The junta came to power in the February 2021 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically-elected government, ending a 10-year experiment with democracy and plunging the country into bloody turmoil.

The junta is struggling to crush resistance to its rule by long-established ethnic rebel groups and newer pro-democracy People's Defence Forces.

Turk told the council that credible sources had verified that over 4,603 civilians, including 659 women and 490 children, had been killed by the military since February 2021.

"The actual toll is almost certainly much higher," he noted.

He said around 400 civilians, including 113 women, had been burnt – either alive or after being executed.

Turk said the violence had intensified since late October, when ethnic armed groups launched coordinated attacks, triggering punishing retaliation from the military.

He said that in January, 145 out of 232 verified civilian deaths were attributable to air strikes and artillery attacks as the military increasingly directs its jets on towns and cities.

"This is horrific," said Turk.

"For the last three years, people in Myanmar have sacrificed everything and kept alive their aspirations for a better and safer future.

"They need the entire international community to support them."