‘They have really created a crisis that’s resulted in a loss, a regression in every human right, and that includes the basic ability to live’
Myanmar’s junta rulers now see civilians as their adversaries and are making war on the country’s own people, the United Nations said Friday.
Two years since the February 2021 coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, the situation is a “festering catastrophe,” according to UN human rights chief Volker Turk, who added that the military was operating with “complete impunity.”
In a report looking at the first two years since the takeover, the UN Human Rights Office said nearly 3,000 people had been killed, of which almost 30 percent died in detention. However, the true death toll is likely much higher.
James Rodehaver, head of the UN rights office’s Myanmar team, said the armed forces were now actively fighting on some 13 different fronts.
“The military is stretched increasingly thin,” he told a briefing in Geneva, so has relied increasingly on air power and artillery to clear the way for ground forces, with more than 300 airstrikes in the last year.
Rodehaver added that the junta was using a so-called “four cuts” strategy” – cutting off its adversaries’ food, communications, ability to recruit, and access to money or a livelihood.
“What they’re doing now is they are treating Myanmar’s people as their opponent and adversary,” he said. “You have a military making war against its own people.”
“They have really created a crisis that’s resulted in a loss, a regression in every human right, and that includes the basic ability to live and to have an economic future,” he warned.
Turk further added that Myanmar’s generals, “emboldened by continuous and absolute impunity,” were embarking on a scorched earth policy to stamp out opposition.