OHCHR / MYANMAR

11-Jun-2021 00:02:39
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet has issued a strong warning of “imminent further bloodshed and suffering in Myanmar,” her spokesperson said. UNTV CH
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STORY: OHCHR / MYANMAR
TRT: 02:39
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 JUNE 2021, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations

11 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, podium briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today issues a strong warning of imminent further bloodshed and suffering in Myanmar. The High Commissioner warns that a further escalation in violence is unfolding across Myanmar and must be halted to prevent even greater loss of life and a deepening humanitarian emergency. Reports indicate a military build-up, notably in Kayah State in the east and Chin State in the west of the country. As we had feared, armed conflict and other violence are intensifying in many parts of Myanmar, including Kayah State, Chin State and Kachin State, with the violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups. State security forces have continued to use heavy weaponry, including airstrikes, against armed groups and against civilians and civilian objects, including Christian churches. There appear to be no efforts towards de-escalation but rather a build-up of troops in key areas, contrary to the commitments the military made to ASEAN to cease the violence. Credible reports indicate that security forces have used civilians as human shields, shelled civilian homes and churches in Loikaw, Phekon and Demoso in Kayah State and blocked humanitarian access, including by attacking humanitarian actors. Already more than 108,000 people have fled their homes just in Kayah State over just the last three weeks. Many into forest areas with little or no food, water, sanitation, or medical care. These are people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Credible reports indicate that a minimum of 860 people have been killed by security forces since 1 February, and this is mostly just in the context of protests. Rather than seeking dialogue, the military is branding its opponents as ‘terrorists’ and pursuing politically-motivated charges against the democratic leadership. In just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe. In addition to the loss of life, people are suffering from severe impacts on the social and economic rights. The military leadership is singularly responsible for this crisis, and must be held to account,”
4. Wide shot, podium briefing room
STORYLINE
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet today (11 Jun) issued a strong warning of “imminent further bloodshed and suffering in Myanmar,” her spokesperson said.

The Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, said, “the High Commissioner warns that a further escalation in violence is unfolding across Myanmar and must be halted to prevent even greater loss of life and a deepening humanitarian emergency. Reports indicate a military build-up, notably in Kayah State in the east and Chin State in the west of the country.”

She said “armed conflict and other violence are intensifying in many parts of Myanmar, including Kayah State, Chin State and Kachin State, with the violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups. State security forces have continued to use heavy weaponry, including airstrikes, against armed groups and against civilians and civilian objects, including Christian churches.”

The spokesperson said, “there appear to be no efforts towards de-escalation but rather a build-up of troops in key areas, contrary to the commitments the military made to ASEAN to cease the violence,” and added that “credible reports indicate that security forces have used civilians as human shields, shelled civilian homes and churches in Loikaw, Phekon and Demoso in Kayah State and blocked humanitarian access, including by attacking humanitarian actors.”

Shamdasani noted that “more than 108,000 people have fled their homes just in Kayah State over just the last three weeks. Many into forest areas with little or no food, water, sanitation, or medical care. These are people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,”

She called on the international community “to unify in its demand that the Tatmadaw cease the outrageous use of heavy artillery against civilians and civilian objects and respect the principle of distinction. The newly formed “people’s defence forces” and other armed groups must also take all feasible measures to protect civilians.”

The High Commissioner has appealed for hospitals, schools, and places of worship to be protected throughout the country. The Office has received credible reports of several incidents in which hospitals, schools and religious institutions have been entered and occupied by the Tatmadaw, fired upon and damaged in military actions.

Explosions that have occurred in or near schools are likely to dissuade parents from enrolling their children for the new school year. Thousands of schoolteachers have refused to return to work or have been suspended from their jobs by the military authorities. As a result, the vast majority of children will not be able to access their right to education.

The spokesperson said, “credible reports indicate that a minimum of 860 people have been killed by security forces since 1 February, and this is mostly just in the context of protests.”

Meanwhile, sweeping arrests of activists, journalists and opponents of the regime have continued across the country, with credible sources indicating that at least 4,804 people remain in arbitrary detention. The High Commissioner said she was also deeply troubled by reports of detainees being tortured, and of collective punishment of family members of activists – one mother of an activist was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in place of her son on 28 May.

Shamdasani said, “rather than seeking dialogue, the military is branding its opponents as ‘terrorists’ and pursuing politically-motivated charges against the democratic leadership.”

The High Commissioner encouraged the intensification of regional diplomacy, including by ASEAN and other influential States, to insist on the immediate cessation of violence and ongoing human rights violations. Dialogue is urgently needed with the National Unity Government and civil society stakeholders.

The spokesperson said, “in just over four months, Myanmar has gone from being a fragile democracy to a human rights catastrophe. In addition to the loss of life, people are suffering from severe impacts on the social and economic rights. The military leadership is singularly responsible for this crisis, and must be held to account,”

The High Commissioner will be updating the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Myanmar on 7 July.
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