Myanmar Unrest

UN deeply disturbed as crackdown continues to intensify

Diplomatic Correspondent

17 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has decried the wave of deaths in Myanmar since the February 1 military coup, warning that detained protesters were facing torture and hundreds had disappeared.

"The death toll has soared over the past week in Myanmar, where security forces have been using lethal force aggressively against peaceful protesters and continue to arbitrarily arrest and detain people throughout the country,” Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights    

Ravina Shamdasani said in a press statement issued in Geneva on Tuesday.

“Deeply distressing reports of torture in custody have also emerged. Hundreds of people who have been unlawfully detained remain unaccounted for and have not been acknowledged by the military authorities, and this amounts to enforced disappearances."

She said the OHCHR managed to confirm that at least 149 people had died in the crackdown on protests since February 1, as a result of unlawful use of lethal force against peaceful protesters in Myanmar.

Of these, at least 11 were killed on Monday, and 57 over the weekend. “There are many more reports of further killings that we have been not been able to corroborate yet.”

These figures include people killed during a violent crackdown in the Hlaing Tharyar, a township in Yangon, by security forces after unknown actors set fire to Chinese-operated or invested factories, the Spokesperson said.

The military authorities also declared martial law in a number of townships in and around Yangon and Mandalay. Under these terms, military law would apply to civilians with both stricter curfews and subjecting offenders to military tribunals with no right of appeal, reads the statement.   

In addition to the killings, Shamdasani warned that security forces were continuing to arbitrarily arrest and detain people throughout the country, with at least 2,084 people currently being held.