Summary: More than 13,000 children have been killed, and 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes. 130,000 Rohingya are held in de facto internment camps, while others experience deprivation and discrimination. A UN expert has told the Human Rights Council in New York that Myanmar’s military rulers are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, a UN expert has said. A humanitarian crisis is developing due to blocking aid to displaced people, he said. He urged the Council to “re-think status quo policies” that aren’t working.
According to him, conditions in Myanmar have “gone from bad to worse, to horrific for untold numbers of innocent people,” and “unless UN Member States change course in how they collectively respond to this crisis, the people of Myanmar will suffer even more.” He made this statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The stakes are high.
Mr. Andrews gave a sombre assessment of the situation: 1.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes; 28,000 homes have been destroyed; villages have been completely burned down; more than 13,000 children have been killed; the number of innocent victims is rising; there is an impending food crisis, and 130,000 Rohingya are being held in de facto internment camps while others experience deprivation and discrimination because they are not citizens.
“Let me be honest: the international community’s response to this situation has gravely saddened the people of Myanmar.” He explained that the world’s people are dissatisfied and incensed by the Member States’ efforts to support this unconstitutional and murderous military junta with money, commerce, arms, and a facade of legitimacy.
But they are equally dissatisfied with countries that declare their support for them but do not follow through on their promises. The stakes are at an all-time high.
Crimes of war
According to Mr. Andrews, the Myanmar military routinely engages in war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as murder, sexual assault, torture, and the targeting of civilians.
And as more citizens take up arms against the junta, war spreads across the nation.
Additionally, a humanitarian crisis is developing due to military authorities blocking assistance deliveries to displaced people and towns they believe in supporting pro-democracy forces.
He claimed that “untold thousands of innocent individuals have been left without access to food, medicine, and means of survival.”
Failure to respond
The UN expert stated that “first and foremost,” Member States must exert more significant pressure to deny the junta access to money, weapons, and the legitimacy it requires to attack the Burmese and stifle their aspirations for democracy in light of the failure of the international reaction.
Many people in Myanmar believe that the rest of the world has abandoned them or simply doesn’t care. He added that they question why the Member States won’t take actions that are both doable and practicable and could save many lives.
“Honestly, I don’t know the solution.”
He urged the Human Rights Council’s members to “re-think status quo policies” that aren’t working and set a new course of action for the UN Member States to stand with and for those who are “fighting for their lives, their children, and their future.” He reminded the audience that the Human Rights Council is known as the UN’s conscience.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network