The United Nations have called on authorities in Myanmar (Burma) to stop attacking peaceful protestors and violating human rights en masse since the military junta seized power on 1 February.
Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, and Michelle Bachelet the High Commissioner for Human Rights strongly condemned the military’s “widespread, lethal, increasingly systematic attacks”.
“The shameful, cowardly, brutal actions of the military and police – who have been filmed shooting at protesters as they flee, and who have not even spared young children – must be halted immediately”, they said in a joint statement.
UN officials demanded an end to “systemic impunity” in Myanmar.
“We must ensure accountability for past crimes and deter the most serious international crimes from being committed”, they said.
“The failure to address the atrocity crimes the military has committed in the past, including against Rohingya and other minorities, has brought Myanmar to this terrible pass”.
Their statement also raised concerns over the treatment of ethnic minorities such as the Rohingya who have long suffered violence at the hands of the military in Myanmar (Burma).
“We are deeply concerned about the impact that the current situation may have on ‘these populations and are closely monitoring developments. The rights of minority groups, including the Rohingya population, must be fully respected,” they wrote.
Myanmar’s (Burma) recent history has been marred by a number of military coups and significant bloodshed. The country became independent from the UK in 1948 and was under military rule between 1962 and 2011. At that point, a new government was formed and the country started to transition from military to civilian rule.
Then on 1 February, following a general election whereby a democratic leader. Aung San Suu Kyi won by a landslide, the military staged a coup and declared a year-long ‘state of emergency.
They claim her election was fraudulent and demanded a rerun of the votes. The country’s electoral commission said there was no evidence of this. As a result, the military seized power just as the new parliamentary session was about to open. Suu Kyi was captured and is being held at an unknown location facing various charges.
Military Commander in Chief, Min Aung Hlaing is now in power. He justified the coup by stating that the military is “on the side of the people” and would form a “true and disciplined democracy”.