UN Human Rights Briefing on Myanmar by Ravina Shadasani and James Rodehaver
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2:59
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MP4
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232.8 MB

Edited News , Press Conferences | OHCHR , UNOG

UN Human Rights Briefing on Myanmar by Ravina Shadasani and James Rodehaver

Shot on Friday 30 June 2023 

 

Myanmar’s overall humanitarian and human rights situation has deteriorated to alarming levels, exacerbated by the military’s strategy to prevent life-saving humanitarian aid from reaching those who desperately need it,”  Shamdasani said.

 

 “Since 1 February 2021, UN Human Rights has documented how the military continues to prioritize its aims over all other considerations, including the urgent need of conflict-affected communities to receive life-saving assistance. Even when humanitarian workers have been permitted access, their ability to deliver aid has been strictly limited and controlled,” she said.

 

 The military has operated as if those providing aid are helping those opposed to their rule, rather than respecting their need for protection and facilitating their access and assistance to the civilian population in a time of crisis.

 

The already dire situation on the ground has been compounded by the military’s restrictions on aid imposed in the aftermath of Cyclone Mocha in May, bringing further suffering and misery to wide swathes of the population in the west and northwest of the country. 

 

As our report makes clear, intentional obstruction or denial of humanitarian assistance may amount to gross violations of international human rights law, and serious violations of international humanitarian law,” she said.

 

 “In the context of armed conflicts, intentional obstruction or denial of humanitarian assistance may further constitute war crimes such as willful killing, torture and other degrading treatment, starvation, and collective punishment. Such intentional denial can also constitute crimes against humanity such as murder, extermination, torture and other inhumane acts, or persecution, when committed in the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population,” Shamdasani said.

 

Aiming in part at cutting off support for its opponents, the military has employed its four-cuts strategy to kill and injure thousands of civilians while destroying goods and infrastructure necessary for survival, including food, shelter, and medical centres, the report says.

 

Myanmar’s human rights and humanitarian crisis is massive. An estimated 1.5 million people have been internally displaced, and approximately 60,000 civilian structures have reportedly been burnt or destroyed. Over 17.6 million people, or one-third of the overall population, require some form of humanitarian assistance.

 

Between February 2021 and April 2023, credible sources verified that at least 3,452 people had died at the hands of the military and its affiliates, and 21,807 individuals had been arrested.

 

James Rodehaver said: “In part because the military was increasingly using indiscriminate weaponry and indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population as a means to increase their control in the country. They have relied upon a strategy called the four-cut strategy, and that that strategy is basically to say that we are going to cut off access to food, to finances, to intelligence, and to the ability of our opponents to recruit amongst the civilian population.”

 

 “They, of course, have used these tactics that I've spoken about before with military means to really instil fear. The use of heavy weaponry on civilian areas, the use of air strikes, the burning of villages, the use of landmines to prevent people that flee conflict from coming back to their homes,” he added.

 

 “We've also had humanitarian aid providers telling us how they are consistently exposed to risks of arrest, harassment and mistreatment, or even death,” he said.

 

“A number of interviewees tell us what was best encapsulated by one individual, which was to say, the main overall risk is that when you deliver assistance, you are considered as associated to illegal groups and you can get arrested or punished for that,” Rodehaver stated.

 

“There have been at least 40 local aid providers that have been killed as a result of the clampdown by the military on their all because they were in the process of delivering aid or assistance,” he said.

 

 

In Geneva

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / ravina.shamdasani@un.org or 

Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / elizabeth.throssell@un.org  

 

 

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Shot on Friday 30 June 2023 

  1. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “Myanmar’s overall humanitarian and human rights situation has deteriorated to alarming levels, exacerbated by the military’s strategy to prevent life-saving humanitarian aid from reaching those who desperately need it.”
  2. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “Since 1 February 2021, UN Human Rights has documented how the military continues to prioritize its aims over all other considerations, including the urgent need of conflict-affected communities to receive life-saving assistance. Even when humanitarian workers have been permitted access, their ability to deliver aid has been strictly limited and controlled.”
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “As our report makes clear, intentional obstruction or denial of humanitarian assistance may amount to gross violations of international human rights law, and serious violations of international humanitarian law.”
  4. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “In the context of armed conflicts, intentional obstruction or denial of humanitarian assistance may further constitute war crimes such as wilful killing, torture and other degrading treatment, starvation, and collective punishment. Such intentional denial can also constitute crimes against humanity such as murder, extermination, torture and other inhumane acts, or persecution, when committed in the context of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.”
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “In part because the military was increasingly using indiscriminate weaponry and indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population as a means to increase their control in the country. They have relied upon a strategy called the four-cut strategy, and that that strategy is basically to say that we are going to cut off access to food, to finances, to intelligence, and to the ability of our opponents to recruit amongst the civilian population.”
  6. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “They, of course, have used these tactics that I've spoken about before with military means to really instil fear. The use of heavy weaponry on civilian areas, the use of air strikes, the burning of villages, the use of landmines to prevent people that flee conflict from coming back to their homes.
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “We've also had humanitarian aid and aid providers telling us how they are consistently exposed to risks of arrest, harassment and mistreatment, or even death.”
  8. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “We've also had humanitarian aid and aid providers telling us how they are consistently exposed to risks of arrest, harassment and mistreatment, or even death.”
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “A number of interviewees tell us what was best encapsulated by one individual, which was to say, the main overall risk is that when you deliver assistance, you are considered as associated to illegal groups and you can get arrested or punished for that.”
  10. SOUNDBITE (English) – James Rodehaver, Chief, Myanmar Team United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR): “There have been at least 40 local aid providers that have been killed as a result of the clampdown by the military on their all because they were in the process of delivering aid or assistance.”

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