Crime & Justice

Crimes against humanity escalated in Myanmar after coup: UN

Bangkok, Aug 9 (EFE).- United Nations investigators said Tuesday that the February 2021 military coup intensified crimes against humanity in Myanmar, after collecting 3 million pieces of evidence in the last three years.

Crimes against humanity and war, violence and sexual assault against women and children and deaths in custody are some of the crimes the army and other armed groups committed investigated by the Independent Investigation Mechanism for Myanmar, which published its annual report Tuesday.

“Crimes against women and children are among the most serious international crimes, but are historically under-investigated,” said Nicholas Koumjian, head of the UN mechanism, in a statement.

The mechanisms, created in September 2018 by the UN Human Rights Council, collected evidence through nearly 200 sources such as interviews, videos, photographs, satellite images and social media.

The purpose was to collect, preserve and analyze evidence on possible crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar since 2011, including the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority, but the military coup increased the workload of the mechanism due to the increase in repression and conflict.

“This has posed a significant challenge, given the mechanism’s limited resources. The specific events since the military uprising in February 2021 (…) are now the focus of the mechanism’s investigation,” the report said.

In the statement, researchers highlight the execution of four opponents by the military junta on July 25 after an opaque trial without guarantees, something that occurred before the completion of the annual report.

The Rohingya live in a situation of “apartheid” in Myanmar and more than 720,000 had to flee the country to neighboring Bangladesh after military operations in 2016 and 2017 investigated for alleged crimes against humanity and genocide in international courts.

Last year, the military seized power in a coup that plunged the country into a serious spiral of repression and violence, while exacerbating the conflict with the guerrillas and new armed groups.

“The continuing plight of the Rohingya and ongoing violence in Myanmar illustrates the Mechanism’s important role in facilitating justice and accountability and helping to stop further atrocities,” Koumjian said. EFE


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