Myanmar’s military regime has tortured to death at least 95 people in interrogation centers and prisons since last year’s coup, said rights groups who called on the international community to help end the junta’s atrocities.
Among those tortured to death were National League for Democracy officials and members, student activists, young resistance fighters, peaceful protesters, striking civil servants, politicians and bystanders.
In a joint statement released on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 14 local rights groups including the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, Equality Myanmar, the Women’s League for Burma and the Ta’ang Civil Society Organization, stated that the junta has used horrific methods of torture on political detainees in order to terrorize opponents of military rule.
“It is now common practice for the military to torture, to extract information and enact revenge, before summarily executing with gunshots,” said the joint statement.
The statement added that it has documented evidence of torture through first-hand testimony that reveals the use of guns, clubs, knives and pliers on detainees by junta forces.
Mock executions and burials, forcing detainees to assume stress positions, deprivation of food and water for days, being forced to drink toilet water, beatings on genitals and threats of sexual assault and rape are among the forms of torture used by the regime.
In one instance, almost 30 residents of Mon Taing Pin Village in Sagaing Region were slaughtered by regime troops in May after being captured in a monastery. Their bodies were found blindfolded with their hands tied. The victims’ throats had been cut or they had been burned to death.
“We call attention to the historic use of torture by the military junta as a direct result of the impunity it enjoyed for decades. Hollow threats by international governments and regional blocs must end,” the 14 rights groups said in their statement.
They called on United Nations (UN) member states, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to put much more political pressure on the junta.
International actors must refuse engagement, dialogue, or participation in activities which lend legitimacy to the regime, and implement a comprehensive global arms embargo, more targeted financial sanctions against military conglomerates and other pro-military business interests and support the work of accountability mechanisms, such as the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Burma (IIMM), added the rights groups.
The groups also called on the UN Security Council to refer cases of torture to the International Criminal Court, to end the physical and mental torture of political prisoners.