UN rights expert calls on ASEAN to increase pressure on Myanmar junta

Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Thursday called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to put increased pressure on the Myanmar junta, following his eight-day visit to Malaysia.

In February last year, a military coup took place in Myanmar, in which the junta deposed the civilian government and arrested State Counsellor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi. Widespread violence and conflict have ensued since. 

Andrews spoke of the “campaign of violence, oppression and terror against the people of Myanmar.” He further stated:

Junta forces have killed more than 2,000 civilians, arrested more than 14,000, displaced more than 700,000, driving the number of internally displaced persons in Myanmar to well over one million, and plunged the country into an economic and humanitarian crisis that threatens the lives and wellbeing of millions.  The military’s attacks on the people of Myanmar constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. No one has been spared the impact of the military’s violence.

Andrews also commended the Malaysian government for providing a place of refuge for many of those who have fled Myanmar, at the same time expressing concern over associated rights issues such as police extortion, migration detention and a lack of education. There are approximately 157,040 refugees in Malaysia from Myanmar, comprising approximately 104,330 Rohingyas, 23,030 Chins, and 29,680 other ethnic groups who have fled conflict areas in Myanmar or persecution there.