Myanmar faces alarming risk of escalating civil war: UN

GENEVA (AFP) – Myanmar is facing the alarming prospect of an escalating civil war as an uprising against the military junta widens, the United Nations’ (UN) human rights chief warned yesterday.

Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council that time was running out for other countries to step up efforts to restore democracy and prevent a broader conflict.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was ousted by the military in February, sparking a nationwide uprising that the junta has tried to crush.

Attacks on troops have increased since lawmakers ousted by the generals called for a “people’s defensive war” earlier this month.

Bachelet said the human rights situation had deteriorated significantly as the effects of the coup “devastate lives and hopes across the country”.

“Conflict, poverty and the effects of the pandemic are sharply increasing, and the country faces a vortex of repression, violence and economic collapse,” she said.

Faced with the “overwhelming repression of fundamental rights”, the armed resistance movement was growing.

“These disturbing trends suggest the alarming possibility of an escalating civil war,” she said.

Bachelet urged countries to support a political process that would engage all parties, saying the ASEAN regional bloc and influential powers should use incentives and disincentives “to reverse the military coup and desperate spiral of violence”.