The United Nations special envoy on Myanmar says a “bloodbath” awaits the country if the international community doesn’t take necessary action to stop the military government from cracking down on anti-coup protesters.
Christine Schraner Burgener told a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on Myanmar that “collective action” is key to stop the “imminent” bloodshed.
The junta took over after arresting Aung San Suu Kyi, the southeast Asian country’s former leader, on February 1.
Police and the military forces have been using live ammunition on protesters, killing at least 536 civilians in the past two months, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an independent group that maintains a tally.
Saturday was by far the bloodiest single day since the coup with 141 deaths at the hands of security forces, AAPP said. More than 2,700 people have been detained so far, it says.
Burgener on Wednesday warned of a “multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia” if no action was taken.
The aid organization Save the Children said in a statement that at least 43 children were killed in the violence, calling the post-coup situation in Myanmar a “nightmare scenario.”
“Children have witnessed violence and horror. It is clear that Myanmar is no longer a safe place for children,” Save the Children said. “We once again call on the armed forces to end these deadly attacks against protesters immediately.”
Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, has a history of resorting to violence in order to maintain power.
In 2017, under Suu Kyi, the military targeted the country’s minority Muslim Rohingya in what has been described by many human rights experts as a modern day ethnic cleansing.
The UN has estimated that the military killed at least 10,000 Rohingyas in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state while forcing nearly 750,000 others to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
On Thursday, Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was charged with breaking the country’s official secrets law, which carries a possible sentence of up to 14 years.