12 October 2023: United Nations (UN) member States must take decisive action to bring the Myanmar military junta to justice following the latest junta attack which killed at least 29 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Myanmar’s Kachin state on Monday, says the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M).
The junta attack began without warning around 11.30 pm on Monday, 9 October, destroying the village of Munglai Hyket where 100 families displaced by junta violence were taking refuge. Powerful explosions, believed to be artillery shells or bombs, ripped through the village leaving craters where houses once stood. At least 11 of the 29 people killed were children and 56 people were injured. This could constitute a war crime.
“The Myanmar military is so emboldened by the indifference of the international community in response to its decades of atrocity crimes that it is now attacking camps for internally displaced people,” said Yanghee Lee of SAC-M. “The military is flagrantly massacring the most vulnerable people in society, and yet UN entities in Myanmar will not even publicly name the military as the perpetrator. At what point will the UN decide to stand with the Myanmar people?”
Monday’s attack is the deadliest junta attack on civilians in Kachin state this year and comes almost a year after a junta airstrike on a music concert killed at least 60 people in the village of A Nang Pa, Kachin state, on 23 October 2022.
The junta has escalated its campaign of brutal violence against civilians across the country this year in wilful defiance of UN Security Council resolution 2669, adopted in December 2022. The resolution “demands an immediate end to all forms of violence throughout the country”. Security Council demands within resolutions are considered legally binding under international law but the resolution does not include any measures for the Security Council to act to enforce its binding demand.
“The junta is a rogue criminal gang that cannot be reasoned with,” said Marzuki Darusman of SAC-M. “Attacking a camp for displaced people is an act so utterly depraved that it defies humanity. Such depraved acts of violence are the reason the Myanmar people have been forced into a nation-defining struggle to liberate themselves entirely from the Myanmar military’s influence.”
The UN Security Council must enforce the junta’s compliance with its resolution using its powers under chapter VII of the UN Charter, through the imposition of a global arms embargo and targeted financial sanctions against the junta, and the referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
If the Security Council won’t, or can’t, act, member States must take action through the General Assembly and pass an urgent resolution during the current 78th session.
“The abhorrent junta attack in Munglai Hyket is a result of the utter failure of the international community to act for the protection of the Myanmar people,” said Chris Sidoti of SAC-M. “Continued failure of UN member States to take collective concrete action to end Myanmar military impunity is a betrayal of the Myanmar people.”