Massacre of unarmed civilians by military must be met with action from international community

28 Mar 2021

Massacre of unarmed civilians by Burma/Myanmar’s military regime on Armed Forces Day must be met with action from the international community

Burma Action Ireland (BAI) has called for immediate, co-ordinated and strong action from the international community in response to the massacre by Burma/Myanmar’s military regime on unarmed civilians across the country yesterday, known as Armed Forces Day. Traditionally, 27 March is commemorated as the day the country began its armed resistance against Japanese occupation in 1945.

As the military celebrated Armed Forces Day with a major display of military strength in Burma /Myanmar’s capital, protestors took to the streets to mark the day as ‘Nationwide March Revolution’, defying a warning that they could be shot in the head and back. At least 114 civilians, including children, have been killed and hundreds more injured in the bloodiest day of violence since the military staged a coup on 1 February. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a monitoring group which documents deaths and arrests, confirmed that 423 have been killed to date by security forces. However, they state that “the actual number of fatalities is likely much higher as the death toll continues to rise.” The AAPP have verified that 2428 people have been detained.

The bodies of some of those shot dead were taken away by the security forces to erase evidence of their crimes, depriving families of burying their loved one and thus adding to their grief. In some cases, those injured were also taken by police and security forces and given no medical treatment. The military also launched air strikes in the Mutraw District of Karen State, an area controlled by the Karen ethnic minority, killing at least two people and causing more than 1000 villagers to flee their homes.

Aung San Phyo, an activist in Burma/Myanmar’s 1988 uprising and now living in Ireland condemned the senseless violence by the military and added “the people of Myanmar do not want to live under a military dictatorship, they are risking their lives and their freedom every day. They desperately need the immediate help of the international community.”

Burma Action Ireland are calling for the UN Security Council to formulate a collective response to this worsening crisis immediately. In particular, Ireland, the European Union and member countries of the UN Security Council should:

• Support a global arms embargo on Burma/Myanmar. Such an embargo should prohibit the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment, including dual-use goods such as vehicles and communications and surveillance equipment, as well as the provision of training, intelligence, and other military assistance. The embargo should be accompanied by robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

• Support the referral of Burma/Myanmar to the International Criminal Court so that members of the military can be held accountable for their crimes and violations of international law.

• Recognise the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) as the legitimate government representing the people of Burma/Myanmar.

Burma Action Ireland

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