Myanmar a 'human rights catastrophe,' says United Nations

This photo taken and received from an anonymous source via Facebook on June 11, 2021 shows protesters marching during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay. - Photo by Handout / FACEBOOK / AFP

YANGON, June 11 (dpa): The United Nations has warned of a further escalation of violence in crisis-hit Myanmar.

Four months after the military coup, reports indicate there has been a military build-up, particularly in Kayah state in the east and Chin state in the west of the country, a statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said on Friday. (June 11).

The army is using heavy weapons and airstrikes against armed groups, but also against civilians, according to the statement.

In Kayah, on the border with Thailand, more than 108,000 people are displaced, with many of them stranded in forest areas "with little or no food, water, sanitation or medical care," Bachelet said.

The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, warned of mass deaths in the region a few days ago.

"Rather than seeking dialogue, the military is branding its opponents as ‘terrorists’ and pursuing politically-motivated charges against the democratic leadership,” Bachelet said, appealing to the Asean confederation and "other influential states" to insist on an immediate end to the violence.

Ousted government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other former top officials are accused of numerous offences by the judiciary.

"In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe," Bachelet said.

The military junta, she said, is solely responsible for the crisis and must be held accountable.

Bachelet plans to brief the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Myanmar on July 7. - dpa
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