Norms of human life, dignity and human rights

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – September 15 Scenes
MoeMaKa, September 16 2022

 Over the past year, thousands of civilians who were not members of the armed forces have lost their lives. The military council has killed the hundreds to thousands of civilians who oppose them politically and those from villages because of the accusations of members of the PDF armed forces. Also, the number of people who have been killed by the accusations of informers or supporters of the Myanmar SAC armed forces has reached hundreds to thousands. 

Most of the torturing and killing of civilians were committed by military council soldiers, police, the military council’s interrogators and militia groups backed by the military council. But, a certain number were committed by armed groups fighting against the military council. The crimes committed by the military junta and militia groups backed by the military council are reported in the news almost every day and there is more than one organization that records those. And so, they publish the figures in the news media every few months. 

On the other hand, there are cases of killings happening sporadically for the reason of being accused as military informants by armed forces. Recently, there was the news of the statements, accusations, the tribunal investigation and justification by NUG that has not yet been completed, relating to the case of Lapot villagers from Yinmarbin Township, in which the armed force led by Bo Than Ma Ni from Thapyay Aye Village, Yinmarbin Township, killed some members of the other armed force and villagers with a total of 11.

In the recent incident in Saw Township where the accused were killed and their belongings, money and cars were taken, the killing group claimed that the people who were killed were reported as informers and, during the interrogation, they were shot for grabbing the guns.

Last year, not only in villages, but also in Yangon’s Hlaing Township, there was also an incident where a taxi driver was shot and killed while sitting in the car, claiming that he was a junta informant.

While the military council is being called a fascist terrorist army or devil army due to the killings of civilians and politicians who oppose them not by armed means, the reputation of the armed revolution to overthrow the military dictatorship will be damaged if there are more killings of civilians in secret by false accusations by themselves. After the killing of those, in order to justify the act of killing, they  sent out news statement to the news media with one-sided information. When such resistance armed organization dominates the area and poses a threat to unarmed civilians, there are situations where the general public, such as victims or eyewitnesses, do not dare to reveal the truth. So every information in the news media cannot be considered as verified information. In some cases, the news media are reporting the killings only with the statements from the people who participated in the incident themselves or organization that committed it rather than reporting from third party or gathering from both side of the incident. And there are also situations where families of the victims or local residents who know the truth of the situation remain silent because of the danger.

Events like these will leave a dark stain on Myanmar’s political process, as they decide to exterminate and kill one’s rights to live on the bais of a single accusation. For those who died due to false information, their reputation was further destroyed after being killed, and the remaining family members are being dishonored as the family of the military council informant. It cannot be said that there is  justice in the loss of life, as well as the loss of dignity. Attacks and fights between armed groups were executed for their own political purposes and military purposes, so there is different way or perspective to measure them according to human rights standards. But it must be said that forcing a civilian into armed attacks, killing, arresting and killing them in a defenseless position, is basically similar to a feudal system or a military dictatorship.

No political ideology that adheres to human rights norms will allow the right to kill based on mere suspicion and accusation of being an informant. It can only be called war crimes committed against civilians and murders.

 For groups that aim to build a democratic society and a democratic political system, they should not imitate the actions of military dictators and civilian dictators who have been stigmatized in history. It is also necessary to clearly define the meaning of the terms civilian target and military target. The death penalty is the highest punishment and cannot be retroactively compensated, so it has been abolished in countries that respect and value human rights. Even though the death penalty has not been abolished in Myanmar, using the death penalty in situations where there is no legal defense for a crime worthy of the death penalty and no sufficient evidence to confirm it, can be considered a cruel punishment. For assassinating or executing a person, it is necessary to pay special attention to the fact that deciding to punish and kill behind the scenes, based on the information obtained from one person or a group of people, may one day become historical stigmas and brutal violations of human rights.

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