World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Myanmar Military Must Stop Murdering And Jailing Protestors – Bachelet

GENEVA (4 March 2021) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday said security forces in Myanmar must “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” following another day of deadly violence across the country on Wednesday.

“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protestors,” High Commissioner Bachelet said. “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.”

The UN Human Rights Office has corroborated information that at least 54 people have been killed by police and military officers since the 1 February coup. The actual death toll, however, could be much higher as these are the figures the Office has been able to verify.

Of the 54 cases documented by the UN Human Rights Office, at least 30 people were killed in Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway and Mon by security forces on Wednesday. Another person was documented to have been killed on Tuesday, 18 people on Sunday and five prior to that. It is difficult to establish how many people have suffered injuries, but credible information indicates, at a minimum, hundreds have been wounded during protests.

Since 1 February, over 1,700 people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in relation to their participation in protests or engagement in political activity, including members of parliament, political activists and election officials, authors, human rights defenders, teachers, healthcare workers, civil servants, journalists, monks, and celebrities. However, the actual number of those detained is likely to be much higher, given that demonstrations are reported to have taken place in 537 locations throughout the country where monitoring developments has not always been possible.

Reports also indicate that a handful of individuals have already been convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven days to two years. Others are known to have been charged and are awaiting trial. Another 61 people who are being sought by the military authorities are in hiding.

The number of arbitrary arrests and detentions have escalated in recent days – on Wednesday alone, at least 700 people were detained. In many instances, soldiers and police are reported to be conducting door-to-door searches and detaining people. While some are eventually released, in many cases relatives have informed the UN Human Rights Office that they have received no information about where their loved ones are being held. The family of one community leader in Yangon said that he had not been heard from since he was taken by soldiers from his home in the middle of the night on 1 February. UN human rights staff have received numerous similar accounts.

“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 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,” Bachelet said, citing the work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and proceedings before the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

“This is the moment to turn the tables towards justice and end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>