Myanmar’s shadow National Unity Government (NUG) on Tuesday reported last month’s massacres of civilians by military regime forces in Sagaing Region to a meeting of the UN Security Council. The NUG said the report provided clear evidence that the junta is committing war crimes and supported its drive to have the junta denied recognition by the world body.
Submitted ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York next month, the report appeals to the international community to reject the credentials of the junta to represent the people of Myanmar at the UN. Displeased by current Myanmar Ambassador to the UN U Kyaw Moe Tun’s support for the NUG, the junta is trying to replace him with someone loyal to it.
While the junta is committing daily atrocities across the country, U Aung Myo Min, the NUG’s human rights minister, told The Irrawaddy that the report detailing the massacres of civilian residents of Sagaing’s Kani Township provided strong evidence that the junta is guilty of war crimes.
“Willful killing and torture of unarmed civilians; intentional, excessive use of force in conflict situations are all equivalent to war crimes,” the minister said.
In July, a thousand junta troops attacked villages in Kani Township, which is a hotbed of opposition to the regime, and laid waste to the area, including public property, during their raids. Villagers who fled the military operations said that when they returned to their homes, they found the bodies of many villagers killed by the troops.
U Aung Myo Min said that based on the accounts of locals who found the bodies and who witnessed the abductions of villagers who were later killed, the report concludes that 43 people were killed in four massacres in Kani Township between July 1 and 28.
In the first massacre, the corpses of four men were found on July 3, their heads almost completely destroyed by close-range gunshots.
In the second case, another 16 bodies were found with signs of severe torture, some with cuts and bruises on their faces and necks, on July 11 and 12. In the third case, 12 corpses were discovered on July 27. In the fourth, 11 badly decomposed bodies were found on July 31 as the villagers went in search of missing locals.
The fatalities included people over the age of 60 and one who was disabled. The bodies bore signs of severe torture and severe injuries from beatings, with cuts and burns all over their bodies, including their faces. Some were found with their hands tied behind their backs or hanging from trees.
“It is necessary for the international community to act against this terrorist group and reject the murderous junta and illegitimate coup at the United Nations General Assembly. At the same time, the National Unity Government, with legitimacy granted by the people of Myanmar, must be recognized and given appropriate credentials by the international community as the legitimate government of Myanmar,” human rights organization the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said in a separate report on the Kani massacres released on Wednesday.
Since the military overthrew Myanmar’s elected government on Feb. 1, at least 1,006 people have been killed in fewer than 200 days as the merciless junta continues its brutal crackdown to quell opposition to the coup.
Those killed have included teenagers, young children, student activists, protesters, National League for Democracy (NLD) members and their relatives, as well as bystanders, pedestrians and villagers.
More than 7,300 people including elected leaders, NLD party members, election commissioners, doctors, protesters, journalists, writers, artists and civilians have been detained.
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