Britain tells citizens to quit Myanmar over rising violence

Britain on Friday advised its citizens to flee Myanmar.

The military authorities are cracking down with increasing severity on

daily protests against their Feb 1 coup, with at least 70 people killed

according to the UN’s top rights expert on the country.

The turmoil prompted Britain, the former colonial ruler, to urge its

citizens to get out if they could, warning that “political tension and unrest

are widespread since the military takeover and levels of violence are

rising”.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises British nationals to leave the country by commercial means, unless there is an urgent need to stay,” the British foreign ministry said.

The junta has sought to stem the flow of news about the crackdown,

throttling the country’s internet connection every night, revoking media

licences and raiding independent media offices.

Five journalists, including Associated Press photographer Thein Zaw, were

formally charged on Friday over their coverage of the protests under a law

against “causing fear, spreading false news or agitating directly or

indirectly a government employee”.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 24.

In WARSAW, the Polish foreign ministry in Warsaw confirmed that a Polish

journalist had been detained in Myanmar, and said they were seeking to

establish “urgent contact” with him.

International pressure has been building on the Myanmar junta, but it has

shown no signs of heeding calls for restraint, continuing to try to quell

daily protests by force.

The UNITED NATIONS has condemned the crackdown, which has seen more than 2,000 people arrested, with even traditional Myanmar ally China calling for “de-escalation” and dialogue.

The KREMLIN said Friday it was “concerned” about rising civilian

casualties, calling the situation in Myanmar “alarming”.

In GENEVA, Thomas Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, gave a stark assessment of the crisis.

The country is “controlled by a murderous, illegal regime” that was likely

committing “crimes against humanity,” Andrews told the UN Human Rights

Council in Geneva.

These crimes likely include “acts of murder, enforced disappearance,

persecution, torture” carried out with “the knowledge of senior leadership”,

including junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, Andrews said.

While stressing that such offences can only be determined in a court of

law, he said there was clear evidence that the junta’s crimes were

“widespread” and part of a “coordinated campaign”.

Thursday saw at least nine protesters killed in different parts of the

country, including six in central Myanmar’s Myaing township — five of them shot in the head, according to a witness.

Rights group Amnesty International released a major report on the crisis

on Thursday, accusing the junta of using battlefield weapons on unarmed

protestors and carrying out premeditated killings.

As well as using tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to break up

street protests, the military authorities have also carried out regular night

raids, searching apartments and making arrests after dark.

Source: NAM News Network