More than 320 Burmese people have been killed by soldiers and police following the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, a regional human rights group said Friday as regime forces reportedly killed eight more pro-democracy protesters and the top United Nations expert on the country warned that conditions "will likely get much worse" absent urgent international response.
"I fear the situation of human rights in Myanmar will further deteriorate as the junta increases the rate of murders, enforced disappearances, and torture."
—Tom Andrews, U.N.
The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said in its daily update Friday that the eight new fatalities bring the total death toll to 328 since the start of the coup. The group also said the total number of people arrested rose to 3,070.
"Although it has been 54 days since the coup, civilians are still subject to various forms of brutal repression by the junta, but demonstrations continue," AAPP said, adding that "deaths, injuries, arrests—even against children—and torture" occur daily, "as does destruction, arson, looting, and raids."
"The illegitimate military regime's terror, even against children, is intensifying," the group added.
#Myanmar: Conditions are deteriorating, but they will likely get much worse without an immediate robust, international response in support of those under siege – @RapporteurUn urges UN Member States to hold an emergency summit to head off deepening crisis: https://t.co/BdN3F4jtZr pic.twitter.com/hWdo5eAxzS
— UN Special Procedures (@UN_SPExperts) March 25, 2021
The international charity Save the Children said earlier this week that more than 20 children have been killed by junta forces. Tuesday night, 7-year-old Khin Myo Chit was shot and killed in her family's Mandalay home as the terrified child ran to her father after police burst into their house.
May Thu Sumaya, sister of the slain girl, told the BBC that officers "kicked the door to open it" and "when the door was open, they asked my father whether there were any other people in the house." Suspecting he was lying when he said there weren't, the officers began searching the house. May said Khin ran to her father, "then they shot and hit her."
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Khin's killing came the day after regime forces reportedly killed Tun Tun Aung, a 14-year-old boy, at his family's home, also in Mandalay.
Police also allegedly beat and arrested the girl's 19-year-old brother. pic.twitter.com/dJpFCptm6u
— SCMP News (@SCMPNews) March 24, 2021
"The death of these children is especially concerning given that they reportedly were killed while being at home, where they should have been safe from harm," said Save the Children. "The fact that so many children are being killed on an almost daily basis now shows a complete disregard for human life by security forces."
The latest killings came as Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the embattled country, issued a statement Thursday warning that "conditions in Myanmar are deteriorating," and that "they will likely get much worse without an immediate robust, international response in support of those under siege."
"Without a focused, diplomatic solution, including the hosting of an emergency summit that brings together Myanmar's neighbors and those countries with great influence in the region, I fear the situation of human rights in Myanmar will further deteriorate as the junta increases the rate of murders, enforced disappearances, and torture," said Andrews.
"Member states have an opportunity to demonstrate this alternative, but the window in which this can be achieved is closing rapidly," he added. "I fear that the international community has only a short time remaining to act."