PARIS (France 24) - The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has warned of “mass deaths” from starvation and disease in the wake of fighting between rebel groups and junta forces in the east of the coup-stricken country.
Myanmar has been in chaos and its economy paralyzed since the February putsch and a brutal military crackdown on dissent that has killed over 800, according to a local monitoring group.
Fighting has flared in several communities—especially in townships that have seen a high death toll at the hands of police—and some locals have formed “defense”.
Clashes have escalated in Kayah state near the Thai border in recent weeks.
Locals have accused the military of firing artillery shells that have landed near villages and the UN estimates around 100,000 people have been displaced.
“The junta’s brutal, indiscriminate attacks are threatening the lives of many thousands of men, women and children in Kayah state”, Tom Andrews said in a statement posted on Twitter Tuesday.
Myanmar’s military is struggling to impose order since it arrested the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her associates on February 1 over accusations of voter fraud in favor of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in elections last November.