The military in Myanmar killed at least 114 people on Saturday in demonstrations in 44 towns and cities across the country to protest the Feb. 1 coup that grabbed power from the country’s elected government.
The killings continued as the military celebrated the 76th Armed Forces Day in the capital with a parade.
Saturday’s death toll was the highest in a single day yet, but the number that horrified us most was 6—which was the age of Khin Myo Chit, who was shot dead in her father’s arms after security forces kicked down the door to their home in the city of Mandalay Tuesday last week.“They shot her as she leaned towards my chest. I ran and was carrying her and could not even take a look at them (security forces) after she was shot,” her father told Reuters.Khin Myo Chit was rushed to an emergency clinic, one of many set up by doctors and nurses to care for protesters unable to go to hospitals now occupied by the military, but it was already too late. She was dead on arrival.In the aftermath of the murder of a six-year-old, the child’s family has gone into hiding for fear of reprisals from the military regime.“Why did they shoot her to death, for what crime? And what sin have we committed?” the girl’s sister told CNN from an undisclosed location. “What have we done? And what has the child done?”
In Saturday’s carnage, at least six children between the ages of 10 and 16 were among those killed, news reports and eyewitnesses said.The two top UN officials condemned Myanmar’s junta in the wake of the bloodiest day of protests yet.
In a joint statement, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, urged the Myanmar military to “immediately stop killing the very people it has the duty to serve and protect.”The officials also condemned “the Myanmar military’s widespread, lethal, increasingly systematic attacks against peaceful protesters, as well as other serious violations of human rights since it seized power on 1 February 2021.”The UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar said the army was carrying out “mass murder” and called on the world to isolate the junta and halt its access to weapons.Sadly, neither the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which counts Myanmar as a member, nor the Philippines has taken any action stronger against the bloodthirsty military regime other than boilerplate expressions of concern.Last week, Marc Rubin, the regional emergency adviser for UNICEF, expressed shock that Khin Myo Chit was killed in her own home, while sitting on her father’s lap, “which means there is no safe place anymore for children.”A military that wages war on its own people has no moral basis to exist. It is time the world delivered that message to the ruthless killers clinging to power in Myanmar.