“A professional military adheres to international standards of conduct and is responsible for protecting the people it serves,” said a joint letter. The UN Special Rapporteur for Burma describes the crackdown on demonstrators as “mass murder”.
The military chiefs of a number of Western countries have issued a joint statement condemning the violence against peaceful demonstrators in Burma. At the same time, they called on the military junta in the letter published on Sunday night to apply international standards of military professionalism. In Burma, the bloodiest escalation to date occurred on Saturday since the coup almost two months ago.
“A professional military abides by international standards of conduct and is responsible for protecting, not harming, the people it serves,” the letter said. The military chiefs also called on the Burmese armed forces to end the use of force and to work to “restore the respect and credibility to the people of Burma that they have lost through their actions”. The declaration was signed by Mark Milley, Chairman of the United States Chiefs of Staff, and his colleagues from Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and the UK.
UN rapporteur: “mass murder”
The UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, Tom Andrews, has meanwhile described the actions of the military junta in the country as “mass murder”. It is time for the world to intervene – if not through the Security Council, then through an international summit on Burma, said Andrews. One could stop the oil and gas payments and thus the financial flows to the military in the country or stop the military’s access to weapons.
Condemned or concerned statements are of little consolation for the people in Burma, against whom the military is perpetrating mass murder. Words were not enough, it was high time for robust and coordinated action.
Bloody day of protest since the coup
On Saturday, the violent repression of the military regime in Burma against the street protests had the bloodiest escalation since the coup almost two months ago. According to media reports and eyewitnesses, security forces fired again on Saturday in several cities in the country, killing at least 114 people, including children. In Mandalay in the center of the country alone, at least 40 people were killed, including a 13-year-old girl, reported the news portal Burma Now. At least 27 people were killed in the economic metropolis of Yangon. Nevertheless, the opposition has announced further protests for Sunday.
Western countries have strongly condemned the actions of the military in Burma. The US has shown itself “horrified”. The violent crackdown on protests against the military rulers on Saturday showed that the junta wanted to “sacrifice the lives of the people” in the interests of a few, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Saturday. “The courageous people of Myanmar reject the terror regime of the military.”
But the military still has supporters in Russia and China, veto powers in the UN Security Council. Diplomatic representatives from eight countries, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand attended a military parade in the capital Naypyitaw on Saturday.
(APA / Reuters)