UN Reports Myanmar Army Engaged in Torture, Mass Killings, War Crimes

The United Nations said in its first comprehensive human rights report since last year’s coup that Myanmar’s military has engaged in systematic human rights violations, many amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Tuesday that security forces had shown a flagrant disregard for human life, using air raids and heavy weapons on populated areas and deliberately targeting civilians.

“The appalling breadth and scale of violations of international law suffered by the people of Myanmar demand a firm, unified, and resolute international response,” Bachelet said.

Many victims were shot in the head, burned to death, arrested arbitrarily, tortured, or used as human shields, Bachelet said, urging “meaningful action” by the international community.

The military government has denied the atrocities and blamed “terrorists” for causing unrest, adding that the military must ensure peace and security.

The UN report was based on interviews with many victims of abuse and witnesses whose accounts were corroborated with satellite imagery, verified multimedia files, and open-source information.

“We have really been able to identify a pattern over the past year, which indicates that this is planned, coordinated, systemic attacks; that there are clear indications that they would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the UN human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

“This is the clearest yet indication of the commission of these crimes,” Shamdasani added.

In 2017, the UN labeled the actions of the Myanmar military “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

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