GENEVA – Soldiers kicking, punching, and threatening to kill six unknown men under interrogation recorded and published on Facebook are Myanmar Army and militia Fortify Rights, a human rights watchdog said today. “The actions of Myanmar Army and militia soldiers in the video constitute torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law”, Fortify Rights stated.
The video depicts five Myanmar Army soldiers from Light Infantry Division (LID) 88 and one militia personnel interrogating six men in civilian clothing whose wrists are tied or handcuffed.Soldiers question the men about the location of a handgun and other firearms while administering 32 kicks, four punches and slaps, and three violent blows with a helmet to three of the unarmed, bound men. Two victims bleed from their faces and mouths.
Analysts from Fortify Rights believe that the victims come from an ethnic minority community in northern Shan State.
Matthew Smith, the Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights, expressed concern about the men who were “savagely beaten” by soldiers. “The Myanmar authorities should take urgent action to protect the lives of these men,”- Smith added.
The President of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth also called upon the country’s authorities for an immediate investigation. “Now that we’ve seen the video of Burmese soldiers kicking and beating men, will Aung San Suu Kyi order investigation?”, Roth Twitted.
The UN, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights organizations have documented numerous serious human rights violations committed by Burmese security forces including extrajudicial killings, the rape of women and girls, and the burning of at least 1,500 structures. The violence caused massive displacement, with more than 70,000 fleeing to Bangladesh and more than 20,000 temporarily internally displaced. A report issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on February 3, concluded that these attacks “very likely” amounted to the commission of crimes against humanity.