Myanmar Faces ‘alarming’ Risk with Rising Chances of Civil War

The UN’s human rights chief said Thursday that Myanmar faces the worrying prospect of a rising possibility of civil war as the insurgency against the military junta expands.

Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council that time is running out for other countries to step up efforts to restore democracy and prevent wider conflict.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was toppled by the military in February, sparking a nationwide uprising. The junta tried to crush the rebellion attempt.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (on television) delivers a speech at the opening session before the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, September 13, 2021.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (on television) delivers a speech at the opening session before the United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva, September 13, 2021.

Attacks on the army have increased since lawmakers ousted by generals called for “defensive war by the people” earlier this month.

Bachelet said the human rights situation had deteriorated significantly as a result of the coup “destroying lives and hopes across the country.”

“Conflict, poverty and the impact of the pandemic are rising sharply, and the country is facing a maelstrom of repression, violence and economic collapse,” he said.

Faced with the “tremendous suppression of basic rights,” the armed resistance movement began to grow. “This disturbing trend represents a worrying possibility of an escalating civil war,” he said.

Bachelet urged countries around the world to support a political process that would involve all parties, and said the ASEAN regional bloc and influential countries should use incentives and disincentives “to reverse the military coup and the deplorable worsening of violence.”

Bachelet said more than 1,100 people have now reportedly died at the hands of security forces since the coup, while more than 8,000 others, including children, have been arrested and more than 4,700 are still being held. [lt/uh]

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