‘Disaster on top of a disaster’: Weakening Myanmar junta using weapons on innocent

Myanmar’s military junta has been getting weaker for months, but that has spelt more problems for the country’s people in the short term, United Nations rights envoy Tom Andrews said on Monday (Jan 29).

Since October, the junta has lost over 4,000 soldiers who have either surrendered or defected, and the military has also been losing ground in territory, he noted.

“They’ve lost military outposts and weapons, including significant artillery, so they’re losing ground. The problem (is) as they do so, they have been responding by attacking villages,” he said, adding that they have very sophisticated powerful weapons of war to do so with.

While the weakening of the junta is good news in the long term, the junta’s response of turning on the people of Myanmar is a “very significant problem”, he said.

“It’s a disaster on top of a disaster,” the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar told CNA’s Asia First.

Since the coup nearly three years ago, 2.3 million people have been displaced and 18.6 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid, said Mr Andrews, who is also a Robina senior human rights fellow at Yale University Law School.

Last year, over 10,000 Myanmar children died due to what the UN describes as acute and severe malnutrition.

“Myanmar kids are literally starving to death. More than half the country has fallen into poverty. This country of Myanmar is suffering incredibly ever since the coup occurred nearly three years ago,” said Mr Andrews.

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