UN warns of further 'atrocities' in Myanmar

Turk made a direct appeal to the Myanmar military and the AA to “pause fighting, protect civilians, allow immediate and unhindered humanitarian access”. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (AFP): The UN human rights chief said Sunday he is "deeply alarmed" by a resurgence of violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state and warned of further "atrocities".

Clashes have rocked Rakhine since the Arakan Army (AA) attacked security forces in November, ending a ceasefire that had largely held since the 2021 military coup.

"I am deeply alarmed by reports of renewed violence and property destruction in Buthidaung township in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, resulting in the displacement of potentially tens of thousands of civilians, mainly Rohingya," Volker Turk said in a statement.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights indicated that the United Nations was seeking to "corroborate information indicating serious violations".

He added: "With inter-communal tensions between ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya high -- and being actively stoked by the military -- this is a critical period when the risk of yet further atrocity crimes is particularly acute."

The AA is one of several armed ethnic-minority groups in Myanmar's border regions, many of which have battled the military since independence from Britain in 1948 over autonomy and control of lucrative resources.

The AA claims to be fighting for more autonomy for the state's ethnic Rakhine population.

Fighting had spread to 15 of Rakhine state's 17 townships since November, Turk said last month.

Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded and more than 300,000 displaced.

Turk made a direct appeal to the Myanmar military and the AA to "pause fighting, protect civilians, allow immediate and unhindered humanitarian access" and to comply "unconditionally" with international law.

He also appealed to neighbouring Bangladesh to extend protection to "vulnerable people seeking safety".

Clashes between the AA and the military in 2019 roiled the region and displaced around 200,000 people.

The military launched a crackdown on the Rohingya minority there in 2017 which is now the subject of a United Nations genocide court case. - AFP

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UN , Warning , Atrocities , Rising , Myanmar , Wants Peace


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