Geneva, MINA – UN Human Rights Council High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet warned that the dire situation in Myanmar since the February coup, pushed the country towards the possibility of civil war and could fuel regional insecurity.
Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, Michelle Bachelet lamented that Myanmar in recent months “has evolved from a political crisis into a multi-dimensional human rights disaster”, CNA reported on Wednesday.
“Suffering and violence across the country is a devastating prospect for sustainable development, and increases the likelihood of state failure or a broader civil war,” she said.
In addition, she warned: “The catastrophic developments in Myanmar since the coup, generate the clear potential for massive insecurity, with repercussions for the wider region,” she added.
Myanmar has experienced mass protests and a brutal military response since the February 1 coup that toppled civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“What started as a coup by the Myanmar military quickly turned into an increasingly widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Since the coup, nearly 900 people have died, while about 200,000 have been forced to flee their homes.
At the same time, at least 5,200 people have been arbitrarily arrested, including more than 90 journalists, according to UN figures, while eight major media outlets have been forced to shut down.
Bachelet also pointed to several reports of “enforced disappearances, brutal torture and deaths in custody”, as well as the arrests of relatives and even children of people wanted by the authorities.
“Desperation is rising,” warned Bachelet, pointing out that people across the country have now taken up arms and formed self-protection groups.
“This newly formed armed opposition group has launched attacks in several locations, which the security forces have responded to with disproportionate force,” she said.
“I fear this escalation of violence could have dire consequences for civilians.”
She called on “all armed actors” to respect and protect civilians and civilian structures such as health centers and schools.
In the past five months, there have been at least 240 attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel, including “seriously disabling COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination”.
She also called on the international community to unite in putting pressure on the military to stop the ongoing attacks on the Myanmar people and return the country to democracy. (T/R6/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)