Civilians continue to be in the line of fire under the the rule of the military junta forces in Myanmar. According to the human rights organization Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) over 1,700 civilians have been killed so far in the violent campaign of repression carried out by the junta forces and over 12,970 have been arrested.
A 193-page report released on March 24 titled “Nowhere is Safe: The Myanmar Junta’s Crimes Against Humanity Following the Coup d’État” focuses on the mass human rights violations that occurred in the first six months following the coup d’état. The report based on 120 interviews, as well as leaked documents and information, argues that Myanmar’s military led by General Min Aung Hlaing deliberately killed civilians who challenged its authority. It also outlines that General Hlaing created a special command that deployed snipers to kill unarmed protesters.
The report compiled by Fortify Rights and the Yale Law School Schell Center identifies “61 military and police officials who should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for their roles in crimes against humanity under international law.” It highlights that six of these individuals are allegedly active-duty army personnel and in leadership positions.
The damning report also explicitly documents “acts of murder, torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, forced population transfer, and persecution” that have been marked in two phases.
The first phase it outlines refers to the deadly crack down by the Myanmar military and police force on peaceful protesters and civilians who expressed their opposition to military rule. The second phrase is in reference to the Myanmar military’s attacks on civilians in areas of long standing armed conflict.
The report also notes that the same people who hold power in the military junta and responsible for human rights violations following the coup such as General Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Soe Win, and the Joint Chief of Staff General Mya Tun Oo “were also responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population in 2016 and 2017, as well as probable past atrocity crimes in Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin states.”
In one example of the rampant rights violations taking place in Myanmar, the report mentions the case of a 25-year-old woman in Mandalay who witnessed the police storm into her house. “Junta forces dragged away my brother and killed my six-year-old sister who was sitting on her father’s lap… We are now at a hideout place where it is supposed to be safe. Actually, nowhere is safe in Myanmar,” she recalled.
The in-depth investigative report highlights how the Myanmar military has abused its power to suppress “peaceful protesters, activists, political leaders, and other civilians throughout the country.”