Human Rights Watch rebukes Australia for meeting with Myanmar junta chief

Myanmar military junta Min Aung Hlaing. Photo/ State Media.

Yesterday, Human Rights Watch accused Australia’s ambassador to Myanmar of “lending credibility” to Myanmar’s junta government. HRW’s criticism came after the ambassador met with the junta’s chief Min Aung Hlaing and of Myanmar’s state-owned media outlets on Wednesday to discuss “cooperation” in various sectors.

HRW Myanmar researcher Manny Maung said the meeting has hurt global efforts to hold the chief accountable for human rights abuses, saying, “By taking photo ops and accepting gifts, Australia only serves to lend credibility to a military junta that is accused of committing war crimes”.

Last month, a human rights organisation, along with the Yale Law School Center, accused Myanmar’s chief Min of creating a special command that deployed snipers to kill unarmed protestors. The School Center and Fortify Rights investigated leaked documents and 128 testimonies from survivors, medical workers, witnesses and former military and police personnel regarding the violence in Myanmar.

The report identified 61 military and police commanders who the researchers said should be investigated for crimes against humanity. Six of these individuals are allegedly active-duty army personnel, including a colonel and two majors. The researchers allege chief Min’s new special command in the capital Naypyidaw was run by four of his top generals.

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After Wednesday’s meeting, Maung urged Australia to “align with its traditional allies” by avoiding further high-level meetings with junta leaders and immediately imposing sanctions on Myanmar. Meanwhile, an official from Australia’s foreign affairs department said the ambassador had used the meeting to call for Myanmar to cease violence and release detainees.


Human Rights Watch rebukes Australia for meeting with Myanmar junta chief | News by Thaiger

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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