Geneva: The United Nations expressed its concern about civilians in Myanmar after the military build-up in the region. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the deployment of two high-ranking commanders, and deploying heavy weapons and troops to particular townships, represented a worrying escalation in the situation.
‘Alarming reports indicate that there has been substantial deployment of heavy weapons and troops by the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, over the past few weeks. The deployments have been to Kanpetlet and Hakha townships in Chin State; Kani and Monywa townships in the central Sagaing region; and Gangaw township in Magway region. The internet has also been shut down. We are gravely concerned by these developments, particularly given the intensifying attacks by the military that we have documented over the past month in these areas’, UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani addressed media, in Geneva.
Myanmar has been hindered in crisis since the army had overthrown Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in February, sparking mass protests and a bloody crackdown. The attacks by military included killings, raiding of villages and burning of houses, which claimed to seek out armed resistance elements and as retaliations against villages. The military groups deceptively acted to be sympathetic to people’s defence forces or ethnic armed groups.
‘There have been reports of mass arrests, as well as torture and summary executions. Military ‘clearance operations’ have involved the use of artillery barrages and airstrikes against villages. The internet shutdowns have also meant that millions of people have lost the means to communicate and obtain information necessary for their survival, and cast an information blackout over potential abuses’, the UN representative pointed out. She also called on states with influence over the regime, to compel them to ‘de-escalate the situation, protect civilian lives and property, and ensure access to humanitarian aid for those who need it’.