Myanmar military target civilians in deadly helicopter attack, UN rights office issues war crimes warning

© UNICEF/UN0229016/Sirman On 24 July 2018, a child at home in the Taung Paw Camp in Rakhine State in Myanmar.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Intensifying clashes between the Myanmar military and armed separatists that reportedly involved a deadly helicopter bombing raid on civilians earlier this week in Rakhine state, have been condemned by the UN human rights office, OHCHR.

Speaking in Geneva, spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists: “The Myanmar military is again carrying out attacks against its own civilians; attacks which may constitute war crimes.”

The conflict between the Myanmar military – known as the Tatmadaw – and the Arakan Army, dates back around a decade.

In the most recent escalation, OHCHR reported that on the evening of 3 April, two military helicopters flew over Hpon Nyo Leik village in south Buthidaung township, firing on Rohingya Muslims who were tending their cows and paddy fields.

At least seven civilians were killed, and 18 others were injured, according to sources in Myanmar.

“These particular killings we have been able to verify with some certainty,” Ms. Shamdasani said, noting that OHCHR had received a large amount of video and footage photographs supporting the attack. “This is why we’re putting it out there: that there was a helicopter attack, that bombs were dropped, and that these seven civilians were killed.”

The mainly Buddhist Arakan Army was formed almost a decade ago in response to economic and social injustice grievances, which are distinct from the systematic discrimination and violence suffered by Rohingya Muslims that forced hundreds of thousands to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh in late August, 2017.

The most recent violence was prompted by Arakan Army attacks on several police posts on 4 January, Ms. Shamdasani said, leading to credible reports of the killing of civilians, burning of houses, arbitrary arrests, abductions and damage to cultural property.

Recent clashes sparked by attacks on police posts

“There was an attack by the Arakan Army on several police posts and the Tatmadaw – the army of Myanmar – responded with very strong force and we received information that instructions were given to them to crush the Arakan Army,” she said, noting that only faltering discussions between the two sides had taken place.

“We call on the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army to immediately cease hostilities and to ensure that civilians are protected,” she said. “Humanitarian access to all areas of northern Rakhine must urgently be restored, including those areas affected by recent clashes.”

The fighting was not simply an issue of Buddhists against Muslims, Ms. Shamdasani said, explaining that it has affected various ethnic groups in Rakhine and Chin States, including Rakhine, Rohingya, Chin, Mro and Daignet.

“As the international community is taking steps towards accountability for the crimes committed against civilians in previous years, the Myanmar military is again carrying out attacks against its own civilians – attacks which may constitute war crimes,” Ms. Shamdasani said. “The consequences of impunity will continue to be deadly.”

Amid the ongoing violence, more than 20,000 civilians are estimated to have been displaced in Rakhine state, with many staying in informal settlements including paddy fields.

“The 3 April attack was carried out in an area that had seen large-scale displacement of Rohingya civilians in recent days,” she added. “According to information received by our office, some 4,000 Rohingya were displaced between 25 and 30 March from the villages along the road connecting Buthidaung and Rathedaung towns.”

Concerns are growing because fighting was formerly restricted to hilly areas but is now moving to more densely populated areas, where the Arakan Army is embedding itself.

Echoing concerns over displaced families, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) official Andrej Mahecic said that there had been no reports of civilians fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.

He also noted that the ongoing violence had halted efforts to implement more than 30 community projects in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, where UNHCR still does not have humanitarian access.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The role companies play in boosting growth in emerging markets

Who is to pay the dearest price in a global slowdown?

COP21 Breaking News_04 December: Building a Sustainable Future – speech by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw at the LPAA Thematic Event on Buildings

China’s stock markets show recovery signs while EU is closely watching in anticipation of the €10bn investment

Germany and Europe prepare for Trump’s America

Europe slammed by Turkey’s shaky Erdoğan; both playing with immigrants’ agony

Eurozone cannot endure any longer youth marginalisation

Budget MEPs approve €34m in EU aid to Greece, Poland, Lithuania and Bulgaria

How private investment can boost education access and quality in the digital economy

Germany hides its own banks’ problems

EUREKA @ European Business Summit 2014: Innovation across borders – mobilising national R&D funds for transnational innovation in Europe

G20 GDP growth nudges up to 1.0% in the second quarter of 2018

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

3 challenges facing global gig economy growth after COVID-19

8 amazing facts to help you understand China today

Universal access to energy is a major challenge for the Arab world. Here’s why

‘Path to peace’ on Korean Peninsula only possible through diplomacy and full denuclearization: US tells Security Council

How young entrepreneurs should be supported: what assistance should governments provide?

What is the Coral Triangle?

Humanitarian aid convoy to Syria’s Rukban camp: Mission Accomplished

Eurozone at risk of home-made deflation and recession

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

EU allocates €50 million to fight Ebola and malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Commission presents review of EU economic governance and launches debate on its future

Cities will lead the electric transport revolution. Here’s why

New phenomena in the EU labour market

Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House

Commission supports Member States in their transition to a climate-neutral economy

3 things the G20 can do to save the World Trade Organization

At this ‘critical moment’, UN chief urges anti-corruption conference to adopt united front

“Our house is on fire.” 16 year-old Greta Thunberg wants action

Brexit: Britain and the Continent fighting the battle of Waterloo again

Malaria could be gone by the middle of the century. Here’s how

AI can help with the COVID-19 crisis – but the right human input is key

Brexit: Citizens’ rights remain a key priority for MEPs

EYE to kick off on Friday: 8000+ young people discussing the future of Europe 1 – 2 June

EU mobilises €10 million more to respond to severe Desert Locust outbreak in East Africa

These 2 teenagers have helped change the law on plastic pollution in Indonesia

From Hangzhou to Rwanda: how Jack Ma brought Chinese e-commerce to Africa

ITU Telecom World 2016: it’s all about working together

EU Commission and ECB rebuff Germany on the Banking Union

COVID-19 threatens the developing world’s small businesses. This is how to save them

Governments should step up their efforts to give people skills to seize opportunities in a digital world

Cameron’s Conservatives and UKIP are exploiting and cultivating anti-EU immigration sentiment but Labour party isn’t?

Here are five tips to make your message clear in a crowded world

Australia’s bushfires have pumped out half a year’s CO2 emissions

The world is facing a $15 trillion infrastructure gap by 2040. Here’s how to bridge it

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

Revealed: danger and squalor for cleaners who remove human waste by hand

eGovernmnet for more efficiency, equality and democracy

‘Exercise restraint’ Guterres urges Sri Lankans, as political crisis deepens

FROM THE FIELD: 10,000 Indonesia quake survivors to receive UN tents

‘Multi-generational tragedy’ in Israel and Palestine demands political will for two-State solution

How the EU sees its own and Russia’s role in Ukraine

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

Human rights chief calls for international probe on Venezuela, following ‘shocking accounts of extrajudicial killings’

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum 2019 concluded, in association with The European Sting

Colombia offers nationality rights to Venezuelan children born there: UN hails ‘very important step’

Is a uniform CO2 emission linked car taxation possible in the EU?

Africa-Europe Alliance: Denmark provides €10 million for sustainable development under the EU External Investment Plan

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s