A UN expert is claiming that Myanmar’s military is likely committing “crimes against humanity” after at least 70 people have allegedly been “murdered” since the military coup in February. Thomas Andrews, the UN’s top expert on rights in Myanmar, reportedly made the revelation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He went on to say that the country is “controlled by a murderous, illegal regime.”
Andrews says “acts of murder, enforced disappearance, persecution, torture” carried out with “the knowledge of senior leadership,” are likely crimes that are being committed. He says such senior leaders being aware of the crimes include the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.
He says that there is clear evidence that the junta’s crimes were “widespread” and part of a “coordinated campaign” but stresses that only the court of law can determine such offences. His statements echo the UN as they recently condemned the Myanmar military, which has allegedly arrested over 2,000 people in connection to the anti-coup protests.
Now, the military seems to be choosing its battles as state-run newspaper the Mirror announced that the Arakan Army was no longer considered a terrorist organisation. The AA has been fighting for the autonomy of the ethnic Rakhine people for many years with hundreds being allegedly killed and some 200,000 civilians forced to flee their homes. Myanmar expert Herve Lemahieu, with Australia’s Lowy Institute, said the military may not want to deal with other issues right now.
“The Tatmadaw has many enemies, they don’t want to operate on too many fronts at once and the most pressing front at this point in time is against the ethnic Burman majority in the major urban centres.”
Such focus has also shifted to targetting rescue workers who are on the front lines of the protests. One rescue worker said he couldn’t even pick up a 30 year old’s deceased body over fears of being hurt.
Even more disturbing is the number of organisations that are zoning in on the revelations being made by the UN. An Amnesty International report has accused the military of using “battlefield weapons” on unarmed protesters and carrying out premeditated murders. The group says the use of firearms, which include sniper guns and semi-automatic rifles, against the protesters is “completely inappropriate for use in policing protests.”
SOURCE: Thai PBS World