Mawlamyine, 30 September

Most civilians arrested by the military regime to be used as human shields were subjected to severe and inhumane treatment, including physical abuse, a lack of medical care, and an inadequate supply of food and basic personal needs in southern Myanmar since the coup, reported the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG).

On September 27, the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG) issued a brief report titled “Shadow of Death” on the military council’s use of civilians as human shields in southeastern Myanmar following the military coup.

The report said that the armed conflict in Karen State has intensified since the military coup and that the military council continues to commit human rights violations.

The human rights and security situation in Karen State has also worsened, with junta airstrikes, mortar shelling, burning and destruction of civilian properties, forced displacement, killings, arrests, and torture of civilians, according to the report.

The KHRG has received 22 reports providing evidence of military councils utilizing more than 564 local villagers as human shields in 7 regions of Karen State since February 2021.

According to the report, the number of cases of villagers being abducted as guides and porters on the ground is likely to be higher than the number listed above.

The military council’s use of villagers as porters and guides seems to be aimed at avoiding attacks by ethnic armed forces. In some cases, those used as human shields have also been killed, tortured, injured, and threatened, said KHRG.

In some cases, the regime forces sometimes forced the villagers who were taken as human shields to walk in front of them as deminers so as to avoid landmines planted by the ethnic armed forces, and some villagers were injured or killed by landmines.

Local armed resistance forces refrained from attacking if they found the junta army using local villagers as human shields, and in the event of fighting between regime forces and the KNLA, villagers who were used as human shields were more likely to be injured or killed, the report said.

The KHRG asks the international community to seek justice and hold the military council accountable for using human shields by prosecuting them for their brutal acts in international courts and legal proceedings, particularly the International Criminal Court (ICC).

News-Than Lwin Times


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