UN warns of risk of wider civil war in Burma

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, warned Thursday of the risk of an escalation in the civil war in Burma where the opposition to the junta called on the population to take the weapons.

`“Faced with the massive repression of fundamental rights, an armed resistance movement is growing,” Ms. Bachelet told the Human Rights Council in Geneva, stressing that recently Duwa Lashi, interim president of the Government of ‘national unity formed by fugitive ex-deputies opposed to the military coup, “called for an armed uprising against the military throughout the country.”

Enumerating the increase in armed clashes between opponents and the military, which took power in February, Ms. Bachelet believes that “these worrying trends suggest that a more extensive civil war is possible”.

“I call once again on all armed actors to respect human rights and to ensure that civilians and civilian infrastructure are protected,” she added.

“The use of air strikes and artillery in residential areas and any other form of military operation which empties health centers, places of worship, schools or other protected structures must cease immediately”, demanded the former president of Chile.

According to Ms. Bachelet, “1,100 people have been killed by security forces since the coup”. She estimates that some 8,000 people – including children – have been arrested since February 1, of whom 4,700 remain in detention.

“Most are imprisoned without any form of legal procedure and without access to advice or even the possibility of communicating with their families,” Ms. Bachelet denounced.

She also claimed to have credible information on the ill-treatment and torture suffered during interrogation and on the fact that “120 people died within 24 hours of their arrest”.

Arguing of fraud in the legislative elections of November 2020, the Burmese army overthrew on February 1 the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party had largely won these elections, putting an end to a democratic parenthesis of 10 years. The generals carry out a bloody repression against the opponents.

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