UN: Myanmar headed toward civil war and ‘mass deaths’ as junta fusses over ambassador

A member of the “People’s Defense Force” fires a weapon in a video circulating online since Tuesday.
A member of the “People’s Defense Force” fires a weapon in a video circulating online since Tuesday.

Myanmar’s junta yesterday reacted angrily to word the U.N. ambassador opposed to its takeover was attending meetings at New York as the world body’s top rights official warned the nation is headed toward disaster.

Late last night, the junta’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement noting its unhappiness that Kyaw Moe Tun was part of meetings on the sidelines of the 76th U.N. General Assembly.

“We further observed that the said meeting was participated [in] by Kyaw Moe Tun, a dismissed civil servant who faces the charge of high treason,” it said online.

It likened his link to the shadow government, which styles itself the National Unity Government, or NUG, as supporting terrorism.

“His participation does not represent Myanmar as he delivered the statement on behalf of the so-called NUG which was declared as a terrorist group for committing terrorist activities in Myanmar.”

At the same time in New York, Michelle Bachelet, high commissioner for human rights, warned that the international community must do more to stop Myanmar from falling into civil war as people take up arms as insurgent fighters to drive the military from power and restore civilian rule.

“Conflict, poverty and the effects of the pandemic are sharply increasing, and the country faces a vortex of repression, violence and economic collapse,” she said, adding that growing armed resistance is among “disturbing trends [which] suggest the alarming possibility of an escalating civil war.”

On Wednesday, Thomas Andrew, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation in Myanmar, warned the U.N. Human Rights Council that the situation has only gotten worse since the military took over in February, with “mass deaths” from “starvation, disease and exposure” becoming possible.

He urged the international community to “change course” in order to prevent more human rights violations and casualties in Myanmar.

“The fact is, current efforts by the international community to stop the downward spiral of events in Myanmar are simply not working … a change of course is necessary,” he said.

The ruling junta and its security forces have killed more than 1,100 civilians, illegally jailed more than 8,000 people, and displaced more than 230,000 others, Andrew said.

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