The Myanmar military continues to arbitrarily arrest, torture and murder people with impunity two years after launching a coup, Amnesty International said today, calling for increased global action and solidarity ahead of the anniversary on 1 February.
Since the coup, nearly 3,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million have been internally displaced, more than 13,000 are still detained in inhumane conditions, and four people are known to have been executed while at least 100 have been sentenced to death. In addition, 7.8 million children are out of school.
The military’s onslaught against anyone perceived to be opposed to its rule has caused widespread fear and grave human rights violations, including through the use of air and ground attacks targeting civilians.
“There is no denying that the military is able to carry out its nationwide assault on human rights because of the shockingly inadequate global response to this crisis, which risks becoming forgotten,” said Ming Yu Hah, Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns. “We can’t let that happen. This anniversary should highlight the need for urgent global action from countries around the world and the Association for Southeast Asian Nations to protect the people of Myanmar, who remain under daily siege from the military.”
Despite grave danger and persecution, brave individuals within Myanmar have continued to pursue peaceful protests. In the lead up to and on the day of the anniversary, Amnesty International is participating in protests, vigils and events in cities around the world, including in Bangkok and Seoul, to show solidarity with the people of Myanmar.
“Speaking up for those in Myanmar who risk lengthy jail sentences, torture and death in custody for expressing peaceful defiance is not a trivial gesture,” Amnesty’s Ming Yu Hah said. “Solidarity has never been more important, as it can raise people’s spirits and show them they are not alone in their darkest hour.”
But the United Nations and governments around the world must do more than send messages of support.
The recent historic UN Security Council resolution on Myanmar was welcome but much more is needed from world governments, who must also apply more pressure on the military to release all those arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their human rights.
The UN Security Council must refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. It must also impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar that covers all weapons, munitions, dual-use technology, and other military and security equipment, training and any additional forms of assistance.
States and companies must also suspend the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer, including transit, trans-shipment and brokering of aviation fuel to Myanmar until effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that aviation fuel will not be used to carry out devastating air strikes and commit serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.
“The human rights situation in Myanmar is intolerable. People in Myanmar are suffering every day and do not have the luxury of time. While many governments have heeded calls to action, it is not yet enough to stop the grave violations of the military. The international community cannot let another day pass, let alone another two years, before taking additional effective steps to stop the military’s atrocities.”
Since the coup on 1 February 2021, Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations, including war crimes and possible crimes against humanity as part of the military’s crackdown on the opposition across the country.
In November 2022, Amnesty launched a campaign calling for a suspension of the supply of aviation fuel to prevent the Myanmar military from carrying out unlawful air strikes. The investigation also identified companies involved across the supply chain.
All our research, media outputs and public statements are available on Amnesty International’s Myanmar page.