MANHATTAN: A United Nations rights expert today expressed grave concern over reports that Myanmar’s military has used heavy weapons and conducted aerial bombings in civilian areas as fighting against ethnic rebels in northern Kachin state has escalated sharply.
While the world focuses on the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, a civil war has flared against the Kachin Independence Army, with thousands of civilians displaced from their villages near the Chinese border, according to the United Nations.
What we are seeing in Kachin state over the past few weeks is wholly unacceptable, and must stop immediately,” Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said today.
According to UN reports, more than 5,000 civilians have been displaced from villages near the Chinese border in the last three weeks. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities are among those who have been displaced. In a press statement, the UN rights expert reiterated that all parties to the conflict had to abide by international humanitarian law, and take precautions not to harm civilians.Civilians must never be subjected to violence during the course of conflict.
All parties must take all necessary measures to ensure their safety and security, she said. Ms. Lee also raised concern over reports that more than 100 civilians have been trapped in the village of Man Wai for the past three weeks, with inadequate access to food or medical supplies. A food convoy, organized by the Myanmar Red Cross, was reportedly prevented from entering the village last week.