About 250,000 displaced in Myanmar due to attacks, airstrikes, UN says

The United Nations rights envoy on Wednesday drew attention to the fact that almost a quarter of a million people have been displaced by the military junta in Myanmar as the country's new leaders for months have continued a brutal crackdown on anti-coup protesters killing, beating and torturing them, Daily Sabahreports. 

The military has stepped up its use of lethal force to quash mass demonstrations against a Feb. 1 coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. At least 738 people have been killed and 3,300 are languishing in jails as political prisoners, according to a local monitoring group.

"Horrified to learn that... the junta's attacks have already left nearly a quarter (of a) million Myanmar people displaced, according to sources," U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tom Andrews tweeted on Wednesday. "The world must act immediately to address this humanitarian catastrophe."

Free Burma Rangers, a Christian aid group, estimated last week at least 24,000 people were displaced in northern Karen state amid military ground attacks and airstrikes earlier in the month. Karen National Union 5th Brigade Spokesperson Padoh Mann Mann said Wednesday that more than 2,000 Karen people have now crossed Myanmar's border into Thailand and that thousands more are internally displaced.

"They all hide in the jungle nearby their villages," he said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). 

Amid mounting violence, Southeast Asian (ASEAN) leaders and foreign ministers are set to hold talks on the Myanmar crisis in Jakarta on Saturday. Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing's expected involvement in the summit has angered activists and human rights groups.


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