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Two years after Myanmar coup, UN says situation catastrophic

AFP . Geneva
28 Jan 2023 00:00:00 | Update: 28 Jan 2023 00:31:47
Two years after Myanmar coup, UN says situation catastrophic
File photo shows protesters hold a banner while another holds the Myanmar Student Union flag during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon – AFP Photo

Nearly two years after Myanmar’s military coup, the UN rights chief warned Friday that the country had plunged into catastrophe, calling for the military to be brought under civilian oversight.

Since the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government on February 1, 2021, Myanmar has “by nearly every feasible measurement, and in every area of human rights... profoundly regressed,” Volker Turk said in a statement.

“Despite clear legal obligations for the military to protect civilians in the conduct of hostilities, there has been consistent disregard for the related rules of international law,” he said.

“Far from being spared, civilians have been the actual targets of attacks -- victims of targeted and indiscriminate artillery barrages and air strikes, extrajudicial executions, the use of torture, and the burning of whole villages.”

The UN rights office said at least 2,890 people had died at the hands of the military and its allies since the coup, pointing to credible sources.

Of those, “at least 767 were initially taken into custody”, it said, adding that “this is almost certainly an underestimation of the number of civilians killed as a result of military action”.