GENEVA: A report published by the United Nations on Friday (Mar 3) accused Myanmar's military of creating "a perpetual human rights crisis" in the southeast Asian country and called for an immediate end to violence there.
Since a junta seized power two years ago, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos, with a resistance movement fighting the military on multiple fronts after a bloody crackdown on opponents that saw Western countries re-impose sanctions.
The report, which documents alleged human rights violations between Feb 1, 2022, and Jan 31, 2023, found that violence had intensified in northwestern and southeastern Myanmar due to the military's "indiscriminate air strikes and artillery shelling, mass burnings of villages to displace civilian populations, and denial of humanitarian access".
The tactic used by the military, the report said, was designed to cut off non-state armed groups from access to food, finances, intelligence and recruits.
"The military, emboldened by continuous and absolute impunity, has consistently shown disregard for international obligations and principles," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, said in a statement.
"Urgent, concrete action is needed to end this festering catastrophe."
Myanmar authorities did not immediately respond to Reuters calls and an email seeking comment.
The junta has previously said it has a duty to ensure peace and security and denied atrocities have taken place, saying it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against terrorists.
James Rodehaver, chief of the UN Human Rights Office's Myanmar team, said that armed clashes were occurring in about 77 per cent of the country.
"There has never been a time and a situation in which a crisis in Myanmar has reached this far, this wide throughout the country," he told a briefing in Geneva.
In its recommendations, the report called on authorities in Myanmar to end the violence and stop persecuting opponents.
"Military operations must stop to provide room for dialogue that could end this crisis," the report said.