UN warns of ‘new atrocities’ after mobilizing thousands of soldiers in northern Myanmar

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The United Nations human rights rapporteur in Burma (Myanmar) on Friday accused the Burmese military council of “mobilizing tens of thousands of troops and heavy weapons” in the north of the country, expressing fear of “atrocities”.

“We must all be prepared, as are the people in this part of Burma, for more mass atrocities,” Tom Andrews told the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He added that “these tactics” are “grimly reminiscent of those used by the armed forces before the genocidal attacks against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017,” noting that he had received information that very large numbers of forces were moving in remote areas in northern and northwestern Burma.

According to a statement issued by the UN Human Rights Council, Andrews, a former US parliamentarian, presented to the UN General Assembly the conclusions of his annual report on the human rights situation in Burma.

According to this statement, since the coup launched in February, the Burmese military has continued to commit “possible crimes against humanity and war crimes”.

The US diplomat said he came “in front of this esteemed institution today to convey to you a simple request from the people of Burma: pay attention to the ongoing catastrophe and translate this concern into meaningful actions.”

The army, which has been in power since the February 1 coup against the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi, announced the release on the occasion of a Buddhist holiday of 5,636 people arrested during the mass protests that took place in the country after the coup.

Hundreds of Burmese political detainees who had been pardoned were able to see their families.

On Friday, the military council re-arrested more than 100 opponents of the coup, who had been released, according to a non-governmental organization.

The February 1 coup ended a democratic period that lasted ten years. Since the coup, the military has waged a bloody crackdown on opponents, during which more than 1,100 civilians have been killed and 8,400 arrested, according to the local NGO, the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

Suu Kyi is being prosecuted for violating restrictions related to the COVID-19 epidemic during last year’s elections, which her party won by a landslide, and for illegally importing walkie-talkies. She faces imprisonment if convicted.





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