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Myanmar coup: MPs urge UN to probe 'gross human rights violations'

13 Feb 2021 10:57, Somoy English Desk
Myanmar coup: MPs urge UN to probe 'gross human rights violations'
Myanmar coup: MPs urge UN to probe 'gross human rights violations'

Some 300 Myanmar MPs have urged the United Nations to investigate "gross human rights violations" they allege have been carried out by the military.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, MPs accused Myanmar's security forces of shooting anti-coup protesters, reports BBC.

Earlier, the UN human rights envoy to Myanmar said there was evidence that forces had used live bullets.

The council later called on Myanmar to allow access for human rights monitors.

Protests continued on Friday in defiance of a plea from Gen Min Aung Hlaing, who the army installed as the country's military leader on 1 February.

He called for "unity" to prevent "disintegration" as the country marked the Union Day holiday.

Demonstrators are demanding the release of detained elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

As protesters took to the streets again, there were some reports of rubber bullets being fired by police.

There have also been reports of security forces visiting the homes of medical professionals and attempting to detain them for questioning over involvement in a civil disobedience movement. Several videos shared on Facebook were said to show family members arguing with the security forces at their properties.

Separately, Facebook said on Friday it would restrict content by Myanmar's military because a number of accounts had "continued to spread misinformation".

What happened at the UN meeting?

At an emergency meeting on Friday, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, read out the contents of a letter on behalf of Myanmar's elected parliamentarians. He urged the Human Rights Council to "support our efforts" in highlighting alleged abuses by carrying out an investigation.

Mr Braithwaite said the military coup had resulted in the arrest of civilian leaders, the reported shooting of demonstrators and "restrictions on people's freedom of speech".

Speaking at the same meeting, Thomas Andrews - the United Nations human rights investigator for Myanmar - said that while investigators had been denied access to the country, there were "growing reports and photographic evidence" that live ammunition had been used against protesters in breach of international law.

Mr Andrews said the people of Myanmar had invested their hope in the UN, and needed more than a statement on paper. He called on the UN - through the security council - to consider economic sanctions against Myanmar, a ban on arms exports, and a travel ban on military leaders.

A demonstrator holds a placard reading "My Ex is Bad but Myanmar Military is Worse!" in front of a sculpture of the "Incredible Hulk" fictional character during a protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, 12 February 2021

The UN Human Rights Council's 47 members then voted to adopt a resolution demanding the "immediate and unconditional" release of political detainees and the restoration of Myanmar's elected government.

The resolution, put forward by the UK and the European Union, also called for the lifting of restrictions on the internet, unimpeded access for the delivery of UN humanitarian aid, and access for UN human rights monitors.

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