By Simon Lewis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Friday issued a joint statement along with Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Britain expressing concern over a military offensive in Myanmar that they say is disproportionately harming civilians.
Washington and other nations have repeatedly denounced a Feb. 1 coup that threw the Southeast Asian country into turmoil, with regional militias taking up arms after the military attempted to crush widespread protests. In their joint statement, the nations expressed their “grave concern” over reports of abuses, including sexual violence and torture, especially in the northwestern area that comprises Chin State and the regions of Sagaing and Magwe, where at least 50,000 people are reported to have been displaced.
They called for the junta, which has been accused https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-says-it-is-concerned-by-alleged-human-rights-abuse-by-myanmar-security-forces-2021-10-31 of destroying homes and churches, to immediately end the violence. “We are concerned about allegations of weapons stockpiling and attacks by the military, including shelling and airstrikes, use of heavy weapons, and the deployment of thousands of troops accompanying what security forces assert are counter-terrorism operations, which are disproportionately impacting civilians,” the countries said.
Myanmar’s army has called the militias “terrorists” intent on destroying the country. The U.N. Security Council on Nov. 10 issued a statement expressing concern and calling for the cessation of violence.
The seven nations on Friday went further, calling for countries to “suspend all operational support to the military, and to cease the transfer of arms, materiel, dual-use equipment, and technical assistance to the military and its representatives.”