Amnesty International report documents Myanmar military atrocities News
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Amnesty International report documents Myanmar military atrocities

Amnesty International released a report Tuesday documenting numerous atrocities committed by the Myanmar military including the burning of villages, destruction of civilian infrastructure and extrajudicial execution of civilians.

After seizing power in a coup d’état on 1 February 2021, the military committed “gross human rights violations” in Myanmar’s Kayin and the Kayah States from December 2021 to March 2022. The report says the military subjected civilians to “collective punishment…, arbitrary detentions that often result in torture or extrajudicial executions, and the systematic looting and burning of villages.” Amnesty International also says military attacks killed hundreds of civilians, displaced more than 150,000 civilians and destroyed numerous homes, schools, health facilities and places of worship.

Between December 2021 and March 2022, Amnesty International documented 24 attacks by mortars killing civilians and destroying infrastructure. During the same time frame, eight air strikes on villages and an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp were documented in eastern Myanmar. The report says “The attacks, which killed nine civilians and injured at least nine more, destroyed civilian homes and religious buildings. In almost all documented attacks, only civilians appear to have been present.”

The report highlights one ignominious incident where soldiers in Kayah State “stopped at least 35 women, men and children in multiple vehicles on 24 December 2021, and then proceeded to kill them and burn their bodies.”

The report concluded that the military’s assaults on civilians in eastern Myanmar are a component of a longstanding history of brutality and impunity. Amnesty International’s Matt Wells called for the international community to intervene:

The military’s ongoing crimes against civilians in eastern Myanmar reflect decades-long patterns of abuse and flagrant impunity. The international community — including ASEAN and UN member states — must tackle this festering crisis now. The UN Security Council must impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar and refer the situation there to the International Criminal Court.

In February 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) began hearing oral arguments in a case to determine whether Myanmar has violated the Genocide Convention. Additionally, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in its report, released for the forty-ninth regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, details human rights violations by the Tatmadaw, the military of Myanmar. The OCHCR urged the international community to take “concerted, immediate measures” to stop human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar.