UN investigates war crimes in Burma

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The executions of dissidents are a military response to the deep discontent among the population in the Asian country

Don’t call it Tatmadaw, it’s not glorious armed forces, as the Burmese term says, call it Sit-tat, just army, deprive it of any credit because it’s just a device at the service of a predatory elite. The Global Voices community of bloggers, speaker for many statements that contradict official discourse, has released a text questioning the name of the military institution that dominates life and even death in the Asian country. Myanmar’s military regime recently executed four dissidents for terrorism-related crimes, a practice not practiced since the 1980s. However, the use of the death penalty is only the tip of the half-sunken iceberg. The former Burma is going through a social crisis and brutal repression of enormous proportions.

In fact, the UN investigators investigating the human rights situation in Burma have warned that they have mounting evidence of ongoing violations of the civilian population that would constitute crimes against humanity; evidence that has already been brought to the attention of organizations such as the International Criminal Court. In particular, it has collected more than three million pieces from some 200 sources in the past three years. Experts have confirmed that abuses are constant and have serious consequences for vulnerable groups such as women and children.

Retirement can be seen as the trigger for this new phase of military control and the ensuing wave of terror. The transfer to General Min Aung Hlaing’s reserve when he turned 65 was detrimental to the military, as his status as commander of the armed forces and de facto vice president gave him immense power that could fall into civilian hands. There was no prudishness. The Turkish precedent is troubling for states like Myanmar or Egypt, which are dominated by their leaders’ dense network of political and economic interests.

There is much to lose. The military elite has not only practically ruled the country since its independence, but has literally taken over its resources. The military owns two giant economic conglomerates, the Myanmar Economic Corporation, with interests in mining or telecommunications, and the Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited, which deals with agriculture and food, among other things.

The tension is essential to local political life. The coup of February 1, 2021 curtailed a liberalization process that was completely disrupted by military tutelage. The promoters explained the initiative and subsequent arrest of Aun San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, the majority party, citing reasons as misleading as alleged electoral fraud and constitutional defense.

The rejection of cohabitation with a civil power explains this strategy of extreme brutality. In that regard, the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority has been a bargaining chip between the two factions. The prestige of the former National Counselor and Nobel Peace Prize winner collapsed when she defended the actions of the troops with alleged terrorist motives, a position she still maintains in order not to do herself in favor of her rival, but above all to support from the Bamar ethnic group, Buddhist faith, which makes up almost two thirds of the total population. The support of this community is essential to maintain power on both sides.

No, this is not an isolated event. The hanging of the four prisoners is a warning to sailors in an extremely thin atmosphere for local and global reasons. The persecution after the coup has claimed more than 700 victims. Hundreds of inmates on death row wait on the other side of death row. The ways are fast. Justice is in the hands of military courts and their convictions are not subject to appeal.

The crisis has consequences for structural problems. The policy of intimidation has encouraged the strong centrifugal tendencies of the eastern states, which are inhabited by various minorities who oppose the centralist regime. Amnesty International denounces indiscriminate bombings and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons in response to this increase in hostilities.

But an even greater threat comes from Europe. Myanmar’s gross domestic product shrank by 18% last year due to rising grain prices and is not expected to take off by the end of this year. The danger to the Hlaing government lies in a population that cannot handle the high prices, and it is that half of Burmese people could be below the poverty line in the new scenario. The execution could also be interpreted as a preventive measure in light of what happened in nearby Sri Lanka. Apparently, anything like the privileges of the Tatmadaw or the Sit-tat may be at stake.

Source: La Verdad

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