|People carry food aid distributed by a volunteer group in Pankai village in Kutkai township in Myanmar's eastern Shan state on June 10, 2021 (File photo by=AFP)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] GENEVA: The United Nations rights chief said on Friday (Jun 11) that violence was escalating across Myanmar, warning that the country had plunged into a "human rights catastrophe" since the Feb 1 coup.
Pointing to reported military build-up in several regions of the country, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for a halt to the already spiraling violence to avert even greater loss of life and a deepening humanitarian emergency. Bachelet pointed to intensifying violence in many parts of Myanmar, including Kayah State, Chin State, and Kachin State, "with the violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups". Bachelet stressed that the military behind the coup, also known as Tatmadaw, "have a duty to protect civilians".
The international community, she added, needed to urgently "unify in its demand that the Tatmadaw cease the outrageous use of heavy artillery against civilians and civilian objects and respect the principle of distinction". She also called for the people's defense forces and other armed groups to "take all feasible measures to protect civilians".Bachelet slammed the sweeping arrests in the country of activists, journalists, and opponents of the regime, citing credible sources saying at least 4,804 people remain in arbitrary detention.