A human rights expert blasted the international community in a report released Thursday for failing to protect and uphold the rights of the people of Myanmar in the face of mass atrocities allegedly committed by the country’s military rulers.
In his report, U.N. Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews presented a scorching picture of the military junta’s relentless cruelty towards Myanmar’s people. He said conditions have gone from bad to worse since the military launched a disastrous coup last year. He said millions of people are subject to an endless spiral of abuse and violations of their human rights.
Andrews cited a list of horrific violations, including the destruction of more than 28,000 homes and the burning of entire villages. He said more than 12,000 people, including hundreds of children, are arbitrarily detained in deplorable conditions, and the country has been plunged into a state of economic distress.
“The Myanmar military is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on a daily basis, including sexual violence, torture, the deliberate targeting of civilians, and murder,” he said.
Myanmar’s military government has not responded to the report.
Andrews noted the people of Myanmar are deeply disappointed by the response of the international community to this humanitarian crisis, which, he says, has become a humanitarian catastrophe.
“They are frustrated, and they are angered by U.N. Member States that are actually working to prop up this illegal and brutal military junta with funding, with trade, with weapons, and with the veneer of legitimacy,” said Andrews. “ But they are also disappointed by those nations that voice support for them, but then fail to back up their words with action.”
The report said conflict is spreading throughout the country as more and more civilians take up arms against the junta. Andrews warned escalating conflict between the military and armed ethnic groups could lead to another mass exodus of refugees like that which occurred five years ago.
Persecution and massive violence against the Rohingya Muslims sent more than 700,000 fleeing for safety to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in August 2017. The Special Rapporteur said the discrimination, repression, and human rights that triggered that exodus persist to this day.
Andrews said many people in Myanmar believe the world has forgotten them, or simply does not care. He appealed to the UN human rights council to prove them wrong. He urged U.N. member states to stand with these courageous people who are fighting for their lives, their children, and their future.