| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Activists urge U.N. intervention over Myanmar army offensives

More than 500 civil rights organizations have called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to stop the escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Chin state, a volatile border region that has become a focal point of opposition to military rule.

Local media, witnesses, and the United Nations have reported a buildup of heavy weapons and troops in Chin, implying an impending army attack to flush out militia groups formed following a Feb. 1 coup.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on behalf of 521 international and domestic organizations urging the Security Council to pass a resolution and act before the offensive in Chin, which borders India, escalates.

“It must convene an urgent meeting to discuss the escalating attacks in Chin State, as well as the overall deepening political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis caused by Myanmar’s military leaders’ search for power and greed, which has caused immense suffering,” it said.

Since the coup, Myanmar has been paralyzed by protests and violence, with the junta struggling to govern and facing armed resistance from militias and ethnic minority rebels allied with a shadow government it labels “terrorists.”

According to witnesses, aid organizations, and local media, houses and churches in Thantlang town have been burned. One of the signatories, Save the Children, stated that their office was destroyed.

The junta has said nothing about the situation in Chin. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm reports of an offensive in the region, where internet and other communications are disrupted.

Salai, 28, who had fled Thantlang earlier, said there was no word from the town.

“Thantlang has yet to provide an update. Yesterday morning, the internet was turned off. Until now, there has been no connection.”

In a situation report issued on Wednesday, the United Nations humanitarian agency stated that clashes between security forces and people’s defense forces had intensified in Chin as well as the neighboring Magway and Sagaing regions.

  • Reuters