Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (10 May) on the continued human rights violations in Myanmar following the takeover of power by the military on 1 February 2021:
I have been following with great concern the ceaseless reports on serious human rights violations by Myanmar’s military, directed against many sections of the Burmese people and in particular against demonstrators, human rights defenders and media representatives who have taken to the streets in peaceful protest.
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the horrendous scale of the violence and the ongoing widespread human rights violations. I urge the military under General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the putsch, and the security forces answerable to him, to immediately end the systematic persecution of politicians, members of civil society, including human rights activists and trade unions, peaceful demonstrators, medical personnel, as well as artists and journalists. Furthermore, I call on the military junta to implement without delay the Five-Point Consensus adopted at the recent ASEAN summit, thus bringing about a solution in Myanmar through a dialogue-based process.
There have been daily demonstrations throughout the country ever since the military seized power. The protesters’ main demands include the reinstatement of the civilian government under deposed State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and the release of political prisoners. The security forces continue to employ extreme violence and brutality against demonstrators and the civilian population. Since the start of the putsch, at least 769 people have been killed, including many defenceless children, medical personnel offering assistance, peaceful protesters, not to mention civilians not even taking part in the demonstrations. In addition to this, more than 3700 people have been arrested – in some cases arbitrarily – and are still in detention, where they are subjected to abuse and torture. While violently suppressing the protests, the security forces are increasingly also targeting hospitals, schools and places of worship, as well as artists.
The humanitarian situation in Myanmar has dramatically deteriorated as a result of the putsch. Even now, the sharp rise in food prices is jeopardising the food security of several million people. The United Nations is already speaking of a humanitarian disaster.