Rights groups urge probe of Myanmar junta violence


Myanmar rights groups have called on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to probe human rights violations in the country’s jails and the use of sexual violence against political prisoners, according to reports.

While human rights violations are now widespread in Myanmar since last year’s coup, rights abuses in prisons take place in the shadows, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The prison authorities are the junta’s stooges and are tormenting political prisoners in various ways, it added.

Myanmar’s armed forces chief Min Aung Hlaing and dozens of other senior officials should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for their roles in the post-coup crackdown, says a new report. The NGO Fortify Rights provides new evidence of the junta’s crimes and coordinated attacks on the civilian population.

The Biden administration formally acknowledged the Rohingya genocide last week in an address by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The recognition came following after years of advocacy by groups like Fortify Rights – which Blinken cited by name in his speech – for having helped secure this historic decision.

Fortify Rights joined with the Schell Center at Yale Law School to publish a new 193-page report“Nowhere is Safe”: The Myanmar Junta’s Crimes Against Humanity Following the Coup d’État. The report details the first six months of the Myanmar military’s post-coup violence, drawing on on leaked information and more than 120 interviews with eyewitnesses, survivors, active-duty military personnel and deserters, as well as more than 1,000 data points of open-source information.

“This pivotal report on the junta’s horrendous crimes can help guide efforts to ensure accountability,” said Tom Andrews, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Robina Senior Fellow at Yale Law School’s Schell Center, and author of the foreword to the report.

The report identifies 61 senior military and police officials who should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for crimes, including armed forces chief Min Aung Hlaing, vice senior general Soe Win, and joint chief of staff general Mya Tun Oo.

“All individuals responsible for these crimes should be sanctioned and prosecuted,” said Matthew Smith, Fortify Rights CEO and co-author of the report.

There are reasonable grounds to believe the atrocities meet the standard required by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant, the report states.

Key points include:

  • communications with six active-duty military personnel (critical of the military’s attacks on civilians), including the head of a battalion, to establish 1,040 locations of military units nationwide, which will help prosecutors geo-locate units to crime scenes.
  • new information about the military chain-of-command during the crackdown on peaceful protesters throughout the country, including a “Special Command” created by Min Aung Hlaing.
  • analyzes seven leaked documents, including orders to commit crimes.

Download the report here.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email