Bangkok, Jul 6 (EFE).- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Thursday said that up to 40 aid workers have been killed and 200 arrested by the military junta in Myanmar since the military coup in 2021.
“I deplore the direct attacks on humanitarian staff. Local organizations, which provide the vast majority of humanitarian aid, face the greatest risks in carrying out their work,” Turk said in a report on Myanmar during a regular session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
He said it was almost impossible to imagine the suffering of the people of Myanmar, where civilians bear the devastating burn of the “grotesque violence” carried out by “a reckless military” that relies on tactics of systematic control and fear.
“The country continues its deadly freefall into even deeper violence and heartbreak. The situation has become untenable,” Turk said.
The commissioner alleged that the voices of civil society and journalists were being strangled and arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and torture continued unabated in Myanmar.
He said the military junta’s continued atrocities and brutal attacks against ethnic minorities Rohingyas had forced more people to cross international frontiers in search of protection, particularly to neighboring Bangladesh where more than one million members of the community live in refugee camps in deplorable conditions.
According to the commissioner, the Myanmar military has killed 3,747 and arrested another 23,747 people, since they seized power in 2021.
As collective punishment, the military has allegedly razed or burned around 70,000 homes and deprived villagers from shelter, food, water, and life-saving aid.
“My office also continues to document repeated violations of the most brutal forms: sexual violence, mass killings, extra-judicial executions, beheadings, dismemberments, and mutilations,” Turk elaborated.
He informed that indiscriminate airstrikes and artillery attacks by junta had increased by 33 percent and 80 percent respectively in the first six months of 2023 compared to the last year.
Most of these attacks targeted civilian areas including villages, schools, hospitals and places of worship.
According to the commissioner, the Myanmar military has been “systematically denying and blocking humanitarian access” to the most deprived regions, where 15.2 million people are in need of urgent food and nutrition support.
The official called this a “calculated denial of fundamental rights and freedoms for large swathes of the population.”
Turk urged the Myanmar military to release the 19,377 political prisoners including the ousted democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I urge the Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court,” he added.
The UN human rights chief called on all countries to cease and prevent the supply of arms to the military junta, which enables attacks on Myanmar’s people. EFE