JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Law students reporting for JURIST in Myanmar on Thursday said that fighter jets were seen flying over the city of Mandalay in an apparent show of force by the military junta while protests against the regime that deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1 continued in several major cities. Protesters in Mandalay and the North Oakkalapa district of Yangon appeared undeterred by a significant number of deaths and injuries caused by police and soldiers firing on demonstrations and rallies in those locations and others across the country on Wednesday, when our correspondents say over 50 were killed. Law students reporting for JURIST in Yangon say that 32 people were shot and 89 are badly injured in North Oakkalap alone. Nine University of Yangon law students detained by authorities in Yangon after a mass rally Wednesday are said to remain under guard at Insein Prison and are expected to be there for at least another two or three days.
Our correspondents reported that general statements made Wednesday in Washington by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken rejecting military intervention as a tool of American foreign policy in the Biden administration were received with distress in Myanmar when reported there Thursday morning. Blicken said: “We will incentivize democratic behavior. But we will not promote democracy through costly military interventions or by attempting to overthrow authoritarian regimes by force. We have tried these tactics in the past. However well intentioned, they haven’t worked.” One Myanmar law student told JURIST:
It’s good to have certainty finally. This is better than any other condemnation statements and warning. Holding onto a false hope will make us weaker. For all this time, it was painful to see people endlessly hoping for a ship at the airport.
We will definitely win even without military intervention. I believe that we will regain the democracy and will build the federal union with our own hands… We don’t lose our hope.
The UN Security Council meets Friday at the request of the United Kingdom to consider the Myanmar situation. In advance of the meeting, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted:
Targeting your own people with lethal force for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest is unacceptable. The ongoing violence and the intimidation must end.
Meanwhile UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews issued a report on human rights abuses in Myanmar prepared for the UN Human Rights Council. In it, he said:
Every day the military junta in Myanmar unleashes more brutality on peaceful protesters who are standing up for justice, human rights and democracy, defending their nation against this illegal military coup.
Anticipating Friday’s Security Council meeting, he urged the Security Council
to consider the unrelenting brutality that we are witnessing in Myanmar. I urge the Council to take decisive and unified action against the military junta, including targeted sanctions, an arms embargo, and a referral to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the coup on 1 February and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior.