The Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma Condemns Myanmar’s Handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in new briefing paper: “How the Myanmar Junta is Violating Humanitarian Principles in their COVID-19 Response”
28 July 2021
Since seizing power in a coup on 1 February 2021, the people of Myanmar have been forced to defend themselves amid the growing instability and state chaos. The COVID-19 pandemic is the latest battle civilians are facing. In a new briefing paper, “How the Myanmar Junta is Violating Humanitarian Principles in their COVID-19 Response,” the Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma (ND-Burma) finds that the junta is failing to respond effectively to the pandemic, and have violated humanitarian principles meant to ensure effective remedies during emergencies. The military cannot be trusted to allocate funds or resources to the general public.
Rather than work to meet the needs of the thousands of COVID-19 patients who are dying in their homes and in crowded hospitals, the junta is arresting healthcare workers and denying life-saving medical supplies in urban and rural areas. The pandemic response has been complicated further by internal conflict fueled by the military junta. Ceasefires have been violated and urgently needed aid is being intercepted by junta soldiers. Their behavior is in direct violation of the humanitarian principles, which refer to healthcare as a human right. In failing to adhere to principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence, the junta is failing the people.
ND-Burma calls on the junta to relinquish their illegal hold on power. Combined with a lack of will power and intention, the junta has proven they cannot be tasked with coordinating an inclusive humanitarian response. With lives quite literally on the line, there is no time to waste. The international community must act swiftly by intervening to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and that health workers can do their jobs safely, and with dignity.
Moon Nay Li
ND-Burma is a network that consists of 13-member organisations who represent a range of ethnic nationalities, women and former political prisoners. ND-Burma member organisations have been documenting human rights abuses and fighting for justice for victims since 2004. The network consists of nine Full Members and four Affiliate Members as follows.
- All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
- Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
- Association Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
- Future Light Center
- Human Rights Foundation of Monland
- Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand
- Ta’ang Women’s Organization
- Ta’ang Students and Youth Union
- Tavoyan Women’s Union