UN rights chief warns human rights situation in Myanmar 'morphed into never-ending nightmare'

'I repeat my call to international community to refocus its energy on preventing atrocities against all people in the country, including the Rohingya,' says Volker Turk

13:25 - 1/03/2024 Cuma
File photo
File photo

The UN human rights chief on Friday warned that the human rights situation in Myanmar has "morphed into a never-ending nightmare," away from the spotlight of global politics.

Volker Turk's remarks came during his speech at the Interactive Dialogue on Myanmar under the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"Three years of military rule have inflicted – and continue to inflict - unbearable levels of suffering and cruelty on people in Myanmar," Turk said. "The depth of this crisis impacting all facets of life is emblematic of the persistent failure to respect democratic norms and fundamental freedoms."

He warned that the human toll is mounting, adding that over 4,603 civilians, including 659 women and 490 children, have been killed at the hands of the military since February 2021.

He stressed that other sweeping violations of fundamental rights and the rule of law continue "unabated" throughout Myanmar where "people fear they can be arrested for anything at any time."

Regarding the situation in Rakhine State, the human rights chief said he is ringing "the alarm bells" again as the state engulfed "even deeper in spiraling violence" since November.

"Military-imposed movement restrictions have almost completely disrupted the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid. Homes have been burned down. Supply routes connecting Rakhine to other parts of Myanmar have been closed, creating an acute food shortage and significant price hikes," Turk said.

He lamented that most families are now surviving on "one meal a day," and added that his office received reports of malnutrition-related health issues among children.

He repeated his call for the immediate cessation of operations in or around civilian areas, for the full protection of all civilians, for the military to release all political prisoners, and for full compliance with international human rights law.

"I repeat my call to the international community to refocus its energy on preventing atrocities against all people in the country, including the Rohingya, notably by taking meaningful and effective, targeted action to end the military's access to arms, jet fuel, and foreign currency that it needs to sustain its campaign of repression against civilians," he said.

He urged: "They need the entire international community to support them."

Myanmar has been under junta rule since February 2021, and the military, locally known as the Tatmadaw, has faced severe resistance from ethnic groups in many regions of the country.

#Human Rights Council
#Volker Turk
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