GENEVA: The United Nations on Tuesday (Mar 15) denounced mass killings in Myanmar and accused the military of possible war crimes and crimes against humanity since last year’s coup d’etat.
The UN human rights office urged the international community to take immediate steps to halt the spiral of violence in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s military seized power on Feb 1 last year, ousting the civilian government and arresting its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta has since waged a bloody crackdown on dissent.
In a report covering the period since the takeover, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s office said that Myanmar’s military and security forces had shown a flagrant disregard for human life.
It described how the military had bombarded populated areas with air strikes and heavy weapons, and deliberately targeted civilians, many of whom were shot in the head, burned to death, arbitrarily arrested, tortured or used as human shields.
“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,” UN human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.
“This is the clearest yet indication of the commission of these crimes.”