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World UN alarmed by abuse of civilians in growing Myanmar conflict

07:20  18 june  2021
07:20  18 june  2021 Source:   msn.com

UN says 100,000 flee fighting in Myanmar border state after 'indiscriminate attacks' from security forces

  UN says 100,000 flee fighting in Myanmar border state after 'indiscriminate attacks' from security forces The United Nations said on Tuesday an estimated 100,000 people in Myanmar's Kayah state had been displaced by fighting that included "indiscriminate attacks by security forces" in civilian areas.Myanmar has been in turmoil since a military coup on February 1, with daily protests in towns and cities and fighting in borderlands between the military and ethnic minority militias, some of which have only existed for a few weeks.

BANGKOK (AP) — The United Nations’ office in Myanmar expressed concern Thursday about escalating human rights abuses after reports that a group opposed to the junta may have executed 25 civilians it captured and allegations that troops had burned down a village.

Internally displaced women talk at their makeshift tents at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday, June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Internally displaced women talk at their makeshift tents at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday, June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) Smoke rises from smoldering houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Wednesday June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Myanmar

The struggle between the military regime that took power in February after ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and those opposing it has sharpened in recent months.

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An internally displaced woman sits inside her makeshift tent at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press An internally displaced woman sits inside her makeshift tent at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo)

Elements of what had initially been a nonviolent civil disobedience movement have evolved into a fledgling armed resistance force in response to harsh repression from police and soldiers who killed hundreds of peaceful protesters and bystanders.

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The statement by the U.N. office cited abuses by both sides, calling on “all actors in the current crisis to ensure that international human rights norms and standards are respected.”

“This includes upholding the obligation to minimize collateral harm to civilians and to civilian infrastructure, and prohibiting the application of collective punishments against communities, families or individuals,” the U.N. office said.

The statement noted the discovery of two mass graves in the eastern state of Kayin, also called Karen, containing the human remains of 25 people “who had reportedly been detained on 31 May by the Karen National Defense Organization,” or KNDO.

Flame rises from burning houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Flame rises from burning houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village. (AP Photo)

The KNDO is one of the fighting forces of the Karen National Union, the political organization of the Karen ethnic minority that has been fighting for decades for more autonomy from the central government.

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The junta said Sunday that the 25 bodies were those of road construction workers who were detained and killed by the KNDO.

In response, KNDO spokesman Wah Nay Nu was quoted by The Irrawaddy, an independent online news service, as saying the men were not civilians but government military personnel who were spying. Some were shot dead by KNDO forces but others were killed by shelling from government forces, he said.

A woman teaches internally displaced children at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A woman teaches internally displaced children at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo)

On Wednesday, however, the Karen National Union said it would investigate and stated that it “follows the Geneva Convention which does not condone the killing of civilians during armed conflict.” The statement added that any wrongdoing could be prosecuted, without providing specifics.

Photos Show Smoldering Ruins of Myanmar Town, Burned to Ground by Government Troops

  Photos Show Smoldering Ruins of Myanmar Town, Burned to Ground by Government Troops "We think it isn't over. We will shift to other villages. Even if we go back to our village, there is no place to stay because everything is burnt," a villager told the Associated Press.The unnamed resident of the now-destroyed Kinma village in central Myanmar said he believed military forces came to search for members of a village defense force in opposition of the country's ruling military junta. The local defense force told residents of the troops' arrival beforehand and after homes were searched, the troops destroyed the village.

The U.N. statement called for "those responsible for human rights violations to be held accountable, including the perpetrators and their chain of command.”

Also in dispute was the burning of Kinma village in the Magway region in Myanmar's heartland on Tuesday.

A resident of the village confirmed to The Associated Press accounts in independent media that government troops were responsible for burning down most of the village’s roughly 250 houses, and that an elderly couple unable or unwilling to flee with the rest of the villagers were believed to have died. The villager spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals by the government.

Smoke rises from smoldering houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press Smoke rises from smoldering houses in Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. (AP Photo)

Government-controlled media, however, reported that “terrorists” had burned the home of someone unsympathetic to their cause, and wind spread the fire to other homes.

The government and its opponents each refer to the other side as “terrorists.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “is deeply concerned and disturbed” by the reports of government forces burning down villages in Kinma, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

The UN has condemned Myanmar’s military coup. Will that matter?

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A man sits outside makeshift tents at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday, June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A man sits outside makeshift tents at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday, June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo)

This "reminds us of the systematic burning of villages in North Rakhine state, which we saw in the past and which led to the dramatic exodus of the Rohingya people,” Dujarric said.

“The Secretary-General continues to strongly condemn the continued repression by the security forces against civilians across the country, which again is having major regional ramifications and requires a unified international response,” Dujarric said.

A resident walks past smoldering houses in the Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press A resident walks past smoldering houses in the Kinma village, Pauk township, Magwe division, central Myanmar, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Residents said people are missing after military troops burned the village the night before. (AP Photo)

Noting the discovery of the two mass graves, Dujarric said the United Nations calls on all parties to ensure that international human rights standards are respected including minimizing harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure and prohibiting collective punishment against communities, families or individuals.

Myanmar's Artists Captured the Spirit of the Resistance. Now They're Continuing the Fight from Abroad

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An internally displaced woman carries a child outside makeshift tents at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo): An internally displaced woman sits inside her makeshift tent at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press An internally displaced woman sits inside her makeshift tent at Pu Phar Village, Demawso Township, Kayah State on Thursday June 17, 2021. A report on the situation in conflict-affected areas of Myanmar issued this week by the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says around 108,800 people from Kayah State were internally displaced following an escalation of hostilities between the government military and the local Karenni People's Defense Force militia since the coup Feb. 1, 2021. (AP Photo)

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