UN Human RightsHigh Commissioner Volker Türk on Myanmar at the 55 HRC
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Edited News | OHCHR , UNOG

HRC: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Myanmar - 01 March 2024

“The human rights situation in Myanmar has morphed into a never-ending nightmare, away from the spotlight of global politics,” he said, in an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.​

 

“Three years of military rule have inflicted – and continue to inflict - unbearable levels of suffering and cruelty on people in Myanmar. Three years of military operations designed to repress, terrify, dehumanize and destroy. The subversion of the people’s right freely to elect their civilian leaders.  Crackdowns on all forms of opposition and dissent. Total abuse of power and impunity,” said Türk.

 

Credible sources have verified that over 4,603 civilians have been killed by the military since February 2021. The actual toll is almost certainly much higher. Brutal acts are carried out by trained soldiers against their own people – around 400 civilians, including 113 women, have been burnt alive or after execution.

 

“This is a chilling disregard for human life, ” he said.

 

The intensification of violence since late October, when ethnic armed groups launched a series of coordinated attacks across the country, has triggered even further devastation and punishing retaliation by the military.

 

The military’s announcement in early February of a military service law under which all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 could be subjected to mandatory conscription without any appeal process is extremely worrying and symbolic of the absence of the rule of law.

 

“In some places, the military has abducted individuals while in others they have threatened communities with burning their villages unless their young people are made to serve,”  he said. There are growing reports of forced recruitment, including child recruitment, among many warring parties.

 

“Throughout Myanmar, other sweeping violations of fundamental rights and the rule of law continue unabated.  People fear they can be arrested for anything at any time,” the High Commissioner said. More than 20,000 opponents of the military are in detention.

 

Compounding this entire crisis is the military’s stranglehold over humanitarian assistance, preventing humanitarian workers from reaching the millions in need of aid.

 

“I want to ring again the alarm bells about Rakhine State, which is engulfed even deeper in spiraling violence since November, ”Türk said.

 

“ After suffering decades of systematic discrimination, repression, massive forced displacement, and other serious human rights violations, the Rohingya today remain essentially imprisoned in villages and internment camps, ” he added.

 

In Myanmar, the Rohingya continue to be denied citizenship rights and free movement. More than a million languish in refugee camps in Bangladesh, and there is currently no prospect for safe and sustainable return.

 

The Human Rights Council must act on these alarming warning signs, the High Commissioner stressed, repeating his call for operations in or around civilian areas to stop immediately and civilians to be protected. He also called on the military to release all political prisoners and comply fully with international human rights law.

 

“For the last three years, people in Myanmar have sacrificed everything, and kept alive their aspirations for a better and safer future. They need the entire international community to support them,” the UN Human Rights Chief said.

 

So I really repeat my call, given this scale of continuing criminality across the country for the situation of Myanmar in its entirety to be referred to the International Criminal Court,” he said, at the conclusion of the debate at the UN Human Rights Council.

 

Türk also called again on the international community to focus on preventing atrocities against all people in the country, including the Rohingya.

 

We need more action by member States. We know that in the General Assembly there was already concern expressed about the flows of weapons into Myanmar. So, we really need strengthened, targeted measures to prevent the military from obtaining, for example, aviation fuel or foreign currency that is used for the maintenance of weapons systems and military operations,” he stressed. 

 

For more information and media requests, please contact

In Geneva:

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

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

Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / marta.hurtadogomez@un.org

 

 

 Tag and share - Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

 

 

 

STORY: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Myanmar’s human rights crisis

TRT: 03:22

SOURCE: UNTV / OHCHR
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: English/NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 
DATELINE:  01 March 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
 

 

SHOTLIST 

1.    Exterior shot: Palais des Nations

2.    Interior shot : Room 20

3.    SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: The human rights situation in Myanmar has morphed into a never-ending nightmare, away from the spotlight of global politics.

4.    Cut away: Room 20

5.    SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:Three years of military rule have inflicted – and continue to inflict - unbearable levels of suffering and cruelty on people in Myanmar.  Three years of military operations designed to repress, terrify, dehumanize and destroy. The subversion of the people’s right freely to elect their civilian leaders.  Crackdowns on all forms of opposition and dissent. Total abuse of power and impunity.

6.    Cut away: Room 20

7.    SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: This is a chilling disregard for human life.

8.    Cut away: Room 20

9.    SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: In some places, the military has abducted individuals while in others they have threatened communities with burning their villages unless their young people are made to serve.

10.Cut away: Room 20

11.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: People fear they can be arrested for anything at any time.

12.Cut away: Room 20

13.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: I want to again ring the alarm bells about Rakhine State which is engulfed even deeper in spiraling violence since November.

14.Cut away: Room 20

15.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: After suffering decades of systematic discrimination, repression, massive, forced displacement, and other serious human rights violations, the Rohingya today remain essentially imprisoned in villages and internment camps.

16.Cut away: Room 20

17.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: For the last three years, people in Myanmar have sacrificed everything, and kept alive their aspirations for a better and safer future. They need the entire international community to support them.

18.Cut away: Room 20

19.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: So I really repeat my call, given this scale of continuing criminality across the country for the situation of Myanmar in its entirety to be referred to the International Criminal Court.

20.Cut away: Room 20

21.SOUNDBITE (English)— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: We need more action by member States. We know that in the General Assembly there was already concern expressed about the flows of weapons into Myanmar. So, we really need strengthened, targeted measures to prevent the military from obtaining, for example, aviation fuel or foreign currency that is used for the maintenance of weapons systems and military operations.


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