UN rights chief warns Myanmar at risk of civil war as despair rises
Geneva: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has warned that Myanmar could plunge into war as despair among the civilian population rises in the wake of the country's military coup on February 1.
According to the Voice of America (VOA), Bachelet's report is being discussed as part of a special interactive dialogue on Myanmar at the UN Human Rights Council.
Bachelet said what began as a coup by the Myanmar military has rapidly morphed into an attack against the civilian population.
More than five months have passed since Myanmar's military leaders derailed the country's fragile democracy. Since the February military coup in Myanmar that ousted the democratically elected government led by civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other prominent politicians have been detained and hundreds of civilians have been killed by security forces.
Bachelet said nearly 900 people have been killed and some 200,000 forced to flee from increasingly violent military raids on neighborhoods and villages. She warns the widespread and systematic assaults against civilians to risk sparking a broader civil war. She says despair is rising, VOA reported.
"Some people, in many parts of Myanmar, have taken up arms and formed self-protection groups. These newly formed armed opposition groups have launched attacks in several locations, to which the security forces have responded with disproportionate force. I am concerned that escalation in violence could have horrific consequences for civilians," she said.
The High Commissioner warned Myanmar's political crisis has evolved into a multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe. This, she said, is causing inestimable suffering for the population and is devastating prospects for sustainable development.
Bachelet is calling on the international community to pressure the military to stop attacking its people and to return the country to democracy, VOA reported.
"ASEAN's Five-Point Consensus is an important starting point for the way forward, but I urge swift action to advance this process before the human rights situation in the country deteriorates further. This should be reinforced by Security Council action. I urge all states to act immediately to give effect to the General Assembly's call to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar," Bachelet added. (ANI)