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A ‘human rights catastrophe’ in Myanmar, HRW report states

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Human Rights Watch (HRW) states in its World Report 2024 that the military has driven Myanmar into a “human rights and humanitarian catastrophe” since the 2021 coup. It calls on the international community and U.N. Security Council to take action against it for human rights abuses amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

“Over the past year, the human rights situation in Myanmar has gone from bad to worse, and it’s all the fault of the [regime] and the Myanmar military, which systematically attacked and killed thousands of civilians,” Phil Robertson, the HRW Deputy Asia Director, told DVB. 

The HRW report stated that the military’s use of airstrikes increased significantly over the last year, with some regions seeing increases of more than 300 percent compared to the previous year. An airstrike on Pazigyi village in Sagaing Region killed over 160 people in April 2023. 

The military regime has used special courts and tribunals inside prisons to deny suspects the right to a fair trial and due process. Lawyers have faced intimidation and arrest for trying to represent anti-coup, or pro-democracy, activists. Few political prisoners have been released in regime amnesties.

“The problem is the international community is not paying the kind of attention required to address Myanmar’s human rights crisis, so the [military regime] is getting away with its horrific repression. That needs to change in 2024, starting with comprehensive, coordinated sanctions against [it],” said Robertson. 

The HRW report highlighted the dissolution of 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), for destroying civic space. It expressed concern that the regime’s collection of biometric data to link to passports, bank statements, and other documents will be used to monitor its opponents and human rights defenders. 

“With the support of the like-minded governments around the world, the Myanmar people can finally demand, and ultimately receive, the restoration of their democracy, and respect for their human rights, that they richly deserve,” he added.

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