US, allies seek arms boycott of Myanmar, end to violence

This aerial photo taken on October 29, 2021 show smokes and fires from Thantlang, in Chin State, where more than 160 buildings have been destroyed caused by shelling from Junta military troops, according to local media. - Stringer/AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP): Fearing "future atrocities" in Myanmar, the United States and six allies on Friday (Nov 26) urged the military junta to end all violence in the country, while pressing other states to halt military aid to Yangon.

"We reiterate our grave concern over reports of ongoing human rights violations and abuses by the Myanmar Security Forces across the country," said the joint statement, also signed by Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and South Korea.

"We call on the international community to suspend all operational support to the military, and to cease the transfer of arms" as well as any "technical assistance" to Myanmar forces, the statement added.

It cited "credible reports of sexual violence and torture, especially in Chin State" in western Myanmar, as well as in the central regions of Sagaing and Magwe.

"In Chin State," the statement said, "it is reported the military has burned homes, churches and an orphanage in Thantlang village, and has targeted humanitarian organizations."

The seven countries expressed concern "about allegations of weapons stockpiling and attacks by the military, including shelling and airstrikes, use of heavy weapons, and the deployment of thousands of troops" in ostensible "counterterrorism operations, which are disproportionately impacting civilians."

The statement said the current situation, as documented by a special United Nations rapporteur, raises "acute concerns about the risks of future violence" in the country.

"We encourage the international community to work together to prevent future atrocities in Myanmar," it added.

In late October, Washington had condemned what it called "abhorrent attacks" by the Myanmar junta in Chin state.

That followed reports that security forces had committed human rights violations and destroyed more than 100 homes as well as Christian churches there.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military staged a coup in February, sparking nationwide protests and a deadly crackdown on dissent.

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