The United Nations Security Council has called for accountability for the Christmas Eve massacre in Hpruso Township, Kayah State, in which at least 35 people, including four children and two Save the Children staff, were killed in Myanmar.
Photos from a Kayah-based group showed the charred remains of bodies on burned trucks in the rural area.
Security Council president Abdou Abarry from Niger said in a statement that the global body condemned the slaughter and “called for the immediate cessation of all violence and emphasized the importance of respect for human rights and of ensuring safety of civilians”.
The statement added that members reaffirmed their support for the people of Myanmar and the country’s democratic transition.
The statement stressed “the need for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, and for the full protection, safety and security of humanitarian and medical personnel”.
The Security Council action on Myanmar is normally vetoed by permanent members Russia and China. In the wake of the Feb. 1 coup, the council failed to condemn the military takeover as both Russia and China, which maintain close relations with the military, blocked the move and insisted it was a domestic affair.
The human rights affairs minister in the parallel National Unity Government U Aung Myo Min said: “It also very important that justice is done for every crime the military regime has committed.
He said the lack of any rule of law in Myanmar meant the NUG was looking to the international courts to bring the junta leaders to justice. Delays in international action, however, pushed “the people to take matters into their own hands”, U Aung Myo Min added.
The massacre happened after a battle between junta troops and the Karenni Army and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF), an alliance of resistance groups fighting the regime in Kayah State.
Junta soldiers detained villagers near Moso and killed and burned them along with seven vehicles and five motorbikes.
Four members of the Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Front, a border guard force which agreed a ceasefire with the former junta in 1994, were tied up and shot in the head while they were negotiating with junta forces for the release of the abductees, according to the resistance group.
The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths condemned the junta’s actions and called for a thorough investigation.
Armed resistance against the junta began in Kayah State in late May and nearly half of the state’s population of around 150,000 has been displaced by fighting. An estimated 187 people in the state had been killed by Dec. 26, said the Progressive Karenni People’s Force.
By Wednesday, at least 1,382 civilians have been killed by the junta and an estimated 11,254 have been detained with more than 8,000 still in detention.
The junta’s crackdowns and offensives against the civilians opposing the regime include indiscriminate shooting, launching artillery and frequent aerial bombardment.
The UN’s special envoy to Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, on Tuesday called for a New Year’s ceasefire.