Indiscriminate airstrikes kill civilians in Myanmar

A fire burns in a village in the Rakhine State of Myanmar A fire burns in a village in the Rakhine State of Myanmar AP

08 July 2020

Airstrikes killed civilians, including children, as conflict worsens in the Rakhine State

Amnesty International collected new evidence that shows government-led airstrikes killed civilians, including children, in Myanmar’s Rakhine and Chin States. The attacks targeted townships where an internal blackout has kept many civilians blocked from accessing the internet. In recent days, upwards of 10,000 civilians have fled their homes to escape the strikes carried out by the Myanmar military. Several civilians reported to Amnesty International that the airstrikes moved from town to town as they were trying to flee, causing the civilians to feel trapped by the attacks. 

The conflict escalated over a year ago in January 2019 after an armed ethnic Rakhine group attacked several police stations in the Rakhine State. After this incident, the government of Myanmar issued a statement that they would “crush” the armed group. For over a year, the military has been ordering strikes on the Rakhine State, causing tens of thousands of civilians to flee the area. This year, the military has raided and burned entire villages in the Rakhine State in order to break up the armed group. Amnesty International also reported on the detention and torture of civilians arrested by the Myanmar military. The country’s Counter Terrorism Law allows the government to detain any civilian they suspect is connected to the armed group. 

Amnesty International categorized the attacks as human rights violations due to the targeting of civilian zones and has requested that the UN Security Council refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. Al Jazeera reported that the attacks should be considered war crimes. Additionally, the internal internet blackout in the area restricts access to important humanitarian information and updates on the country’s COVID-19 crisis. The combination of armed conflict and a deadly pandemic has left civilians in Myanmar in desperate need of humanitarian aid.


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Author: Vito Quaglia

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