UN condemns violence in Myanmar as at least 18 killed in clashes with authorities

PHOTO: Wikimedia

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) has called for an immediate end to the use of force in Myanmar, after at least 18 people were killed in violent clashes yesterday. Those opposed to the February 1 military coup have been taking to the streets, with police and military forces opening fire in what was the deadliest day so far.

A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General António Guterres says he condemned the use of force against protesters, which resulted in at least 30 people being injured and 18 killed.

“He is deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries. The use of lethal force against peaceful protestors and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable.”

The Burmese army claims that the parliamentary elections, in which State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was elected, were fraudulent. She was arrested on February 1, along with several members of her administration. According to media reports, she is due to appear in court today.

The UN Ambassador to Myanmar also condemned the military coup in a General Assembly address in New York and called on the international community to act. He has since been fired.

OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani has also condemned the violence, saying the Burmese people have the right to peacefully protest in the name of democracy.

“The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression.”

After clashes between protesters and the military and police, deaths have been reported in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myiek, Bago and Pokokku, with Shamdasani claiming tear gas and stun grenades were used against protesters. She has slammed the use of force and condemned the arrest and detention of activists.

“Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms. Since the beginning of the coup d’état, the police and security forces have targeted an ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists, and medical professionals.

“Today alone, police have detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, as well as 7 journalists, who were present at the demonstrations. Over 1,000 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in the last month – some of whom remain unaccounted for – mostly without any form of due process, simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly.”

The military coup of February 1 came as Myanmar was edging towards democracy after years of army rule. It has been condemned by countries around the world and brought hundreds of thousands of Burmese onto the streets to demand an end to military rule and the restoration of democracy.


World News

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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