Monks take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 11. (Photo: AFP)
The Myanmar military’s brutal crackdown against peaceful protests probably constitutes crimes against humanity, a UN rights envoy said.
In an address to the UN Human Rights Council on March 11, Tom Andrews said “Myanmar was currently being controlled by a murderous, illegal regime.”
He stressed the junta’s security forces are committing acts of murder, imprisonment and persecution as part of a coordinated campaign in a widespread and systematic manner with the knowledge of the junta’s leadership that is “likely committing crimes against humanity.”
Andrews said credible reports indicate that, as of March 11, Myanmar security forces had murdered at least 70 people.
He added the junta is detaining dozens, sometimes hundreds, every day. As of March 10, the total number of arbitrary arrests and detentions since the Feb. 1 coup had risen beyond 2,000 and the violence against protesters, including violence against people sitting peacefully in their homes, is steadily increasing.
The UN rights envoy has called for a united global response as “the people of Myanmar need not only words of support but supportive action. They need the help of the international community now.”
He said the UN Security Council’s statement on March 10 that expressed deep concern about developments in Myanmar is welcome but “wholly insufficient.”
He urged member states to commit to taking strong, decisive and coordinated action as a coalition of nations — an emergency coalition for the people of Myanmar.
On March 11, at least 10 people were killed in four cities and towns, including Myaing in central Myanmar where six were killed and several were wounded by security forces.
Despite the bloody crackdown, arrests and beatings of the detained, activists have vowed that they will continue street protests on March 12.
On March 11, deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi was accused of accepting illegal payments worth US$600,000 as well as gold while she was in government.
She had already been charged with illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and flouting Covid-19 restrictions.
The Southeast Asian nation, which had been under harsh military rule for more than five decades, is mired in turmoil following the Feb. 1 coup that toppled Suu Kyi’s elected government, abruptly ending a 10-year experiment with democracy.
South Korean bishops have raised deep concerns about Myanmar's brutal response to peaceful protesters as they called for freedom, democracy and peace.
“We, all people, learned from history that the normal and innocent people’s appeals and solidarity could open a door to a new world,” the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea said in a March 11 statement.
It said in the past South Korea also went through the pain and suffering that Myanmar is now experiencing.