OHCHR / MYANMAR

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28-Jan-2022 00:01:31
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said, one year after the military seized power, “the people of Myanmar – who have paid a high cost in both lives and freedoms lost – continue to advocate relentlessly for their democracy,” according to a spokesperson. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / MYANMAR
TRT: 1:31
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 JANUARY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

28 JANUARY 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior
2. Wide shot, dais
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“One year after the military seized power, the people of Myanmar – who have paid a high cost in both lives and freedoms lost – continue to advocate relentlessly for their democracy.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“It is time for an urgent, renewed effort to restore human rights and democracy in Myanmar and ensure that perpetrators of systemic human rights violations and abuses are held to account.”
6. Med shot, briefing room screen and podium
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The people have shown extraordinary courage and resilience in standing up for their basic human rights and supporting each other. Now the international community must show its resolve to support them through concrete actions to end this crisis.”
8. Wide shot, journalists and podium
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Rupert Colville, spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“As long as impunity prevails, stability in Myanmar will be a fiction. Accountability of the military remains crucial to any solution going forward – the people overwhelmingly demand this.”
10. Various shots, press conference

STORYLINE:

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said, one year after the military seized power, “the people of Myanmar – who have paid a high cost in both lives and freedoms lost – continue to advocate relentlessly for their democracy,” according to a spokesperson.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Friday urged governments and businesses to heed the voices of the people and to intensify pressure on the military to stop its campaign of violence against the people.

Speaking at a biweekly press briefing in Geneva today (28 Jan), her spokesperson Rupert Colville outlined the High Commissioner’s concerns. He noted that the High Commissioner had a chance this week to speak in person with human rights defenders who pleaded to the international community not to abandon them, but to take robust, effective measures to ensure their rights are protected and the military is held accountable.

The UN Human Rights Chief urged governments, in the region and beyond, as well as businesses, to listen to this plea, Colville said. “It is time for an urgent, renewed effort to restore human rights and democracy in Myanmar and ensure that perpetrators of systemic human rights violations and abuses are held to account,” said Colville.

Bachelet heard chilling accounts of journalists being tortured; factory workers being intimidated, silenced and exploited; intensified persecution of ethnic and religious minorities – including the Rohingya; arbitrary arrests, detentions and sham trials of political opponents; so-called ‘clearance operations’ targeting villagers, indiscriminate attacks including through airstrikes and the use of heavy weaponry in populated areas, showing gross disregard for human life.

And yet, Colville said, courageous human rights defenders and trade unionists continue to protest, to advocate, to document and accumulate the mounting evidence of violations.

The brutal effort by security forces to crush dissent has led to the killing of at least 1,500 people by the military since the 1 February coup – but that figure does not include thousands more deaths from armed conflict and violence, which have intensified nationwide.

The UN Human Rights Office said it documented gross human rights violations on a daily basis, the vast majority committed by security forces. At least 11,787 persons have been arbitrarily detained for voicing their opposition to the military either in peaceful protests or through their online activities, of whom 8,792 remain in custody. At least 290 have died in detention, many likely due to the use of torture.

Armed clashes have grown in frequency and intensity. The Office said it documented village burnings, including places of worship and medical clinics, mass arrests, summary executions and the use of torture.

Members of Myanmar civil society told Bachelet what the impact of the last year has been on their lives and those of their families and communities.

“The people have shown extraordinary courage and resilience in standing up for their basic human rights and supporting each other. Now the international community must show its resolve to support them through concrete actions to end this crisis,” Colville quoted the High Commissioner as saying.

While there has been near universal condemnation of the coup and the ensuing violence, the international response has been ineffectual and lacks a sense of urgency commensurate to the magnitude of the crisis, according to Bachelet.

The limited actions taken by the UN Security Council and by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been insufficient to convince Myanmar’s military to cease its violence and facilitate humanitarian access and aid deliveries. The High Commissioner welcomed some private corporations’ decisions to cease commercial operations and associated payments to the military authorities, on human rights grounds, as a powerful tool to apply pressure on the financing of the military’s operations against civilians.

Bachelet has also stressed that the current human rights crisis is built upon the impunity with which the military leadership perpetrated the shocking campaign of violence resulting in gross human rights violations against the Rohingya communities of Myanmar four years ago – and other ethnic minorities over many decades beforehand.

“As long as impunity prevails, stability in Myanmar will be a fiction. Accountability of the military remains crucial to any solution going forward – the people overwhelmingly demand this,” Colville stressed.
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