After 100,000 people fled the fighting, the United Nations warned Myanmar of “mass death” | ASEAN News

A UN human rights expert warned that after the military’s “barbaric and indiscriminate attacks” forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in Kayah State, “mass deaths due to hunger, disease and exposure” would occur in eastern Myanmar. .

In a statement on Wednesday, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called for urgent international action, stating that the military’s attack — which came to power after the coup in February — “threatened thousands of men, women and Children’s lives” are in Kayah or Karenni State.

“Let me be blunt,” Andrews said. “Since the coup on February 1, we have never seen such a large-scale death from starvation, disease and exposure. If action is not taken immediately, it may happen in Kayah State.”

The request was made hours after the UN office in Myanmar stated that the violence in Kayah took place Displaced An estimated 100,000 people are seeking safety in forests, host communities and neighboring southern Shan State.

The UN office said in a statement that those who fled and those in places affected by bombing and artillery urgently needed food, water, shelter, fuel and medical care.

“This crisis may push people to seek safety across international borders,” it warned, and called on all parties to “take necessary measures and precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

This photo taken on June 1, 2021 shows people taking refuge in the jungle area of ​​De Moso, Kayah State after fleeing a battle between the Myanmar Army and members of the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) [Stringer/ AFP]
This photo taken on June 3, 2021 shows people taking refuge in the jungle area of ​​De Moso, Kayah. [Stringer/ AFP]

Myanmar has been in chaos since the army took over. There have been daily protests across the country, and battles between the army and ethnic minority armed forces in the border areas. Human rights groups say that since the coup, security forces have killed at least 849 people and detained 5,800 people.

People living in Kayah told Al Jazeera that the military has roll out On May 21, after the fighting broke out between the security forces and the civilian resistance organization called the Karenni People’s Defence Force (KPDF), they carried out indiscriminate air strikes and shelling in civilian areas.

Several people have died, including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the town of Loikaw and a young man with his hands tied behind his back and shot in the head. The military repeatedly attacked churches in Christian-majority areas, killing four people in one attack, including 300 villagers who took refuge in a Catholic church in Loikaw.

ASEAN plan “progress slowly”

Security forces also attacked and threatened humanitarian workers, and Andrews said he received reports that soldiers had “prevented aid from reaching these desperate people” by setting up military blockades and laying mines on public roads.

“Now any pressure or influence that a member of the United Nations can exert on the military government must be exerted so that the military government leader Min Anglai will immediately: (1): open the passage and allow life-saving assistance to reach those in need, and (2) stop Intimidation stops the aerial bombardment, shelling and shooting of civilians.”

Andrews said that the military’s attacks on civilians in Kayah were “the latest in a series of attacks that caused massive displacement and humanitarian suffering in various parts of Myanmar, including Mutra in Kayin State and Minda and Bo in Chin State. Gushi and other areas.”

“Now more than ever, the international community must cut off the military government’s access to the resources that continue to carry out these brutal attacks on the people of Myanmar,” he added.

The Myanmar military has so far ignored the international community’s criticism of its violent suppression, and has hardly noticed the “five-point consensus” reached between Min Aung Lai and Southeast Asian leaders in April. The agreement was reached at a special summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), calling for an end to violence, political negotiations and the appointment of regional envoys.

On Monday, ASEAN foreign ministers met with the Myanmar military envoy in Chongqing, China, and expressed concern about the military’s “slow and painful” progress in implementing the consensus. However, military foreign minister Wunna Maung Lwin said at the meeting: “The only way to ensure that the democratic system is disciplined and authentic” is through the five-point plan drafted by the military, which was announced after the coup in February.

The plan bears little resemblance to the ASEAN consensus, which includes the establishment of a new election committee-the military claims that there is no evidence that the November 2020 elections were fraudulent-taking measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery s hard work.

At the same time, China supports the ASEAN plan.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement that Wang Yi met with Winner Maung Lun and called for the implementation of the “five-point consensus” and an end to “various violence” in Myanmar.

“We encourage all parties in Myanmar to engage in political dialogue within the constitution and legal framework to restart the process of democratic transformation,” Wang said in the statement.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang