An open letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Systematic Attack on Medical Professionals and the Extreme Violations of the Rights to Health and Ongoing Crimes Against Humanity in Myanmar
- April 21, 2021
- Posted by: user2
- Category: Press Release
To: His Excellency, António Guterres , Secretary General of the United Nations
CC: UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, Special Envoy of UN Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, Yanghee Lee- Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, President of International Criminal Court (ICC) Judge Piotr Hofmański, President of the International Court of Justice Joan Donoghue, Executive Director of Global R2P Dr. Simon Adams, Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Piotr Hofmański, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Amnesty international, Human rights watch, Human Rights Without Frontiers, Burma Campaign in UK, Physicians for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights Foundation, Front line defenders, Human Rights house foundations, Open society foundations, Equality Human Rights, Advocates for Human Rights
We want to extend our thanks and appreciation for your time, effort and support to help our citizens regarding various forms of extreme violation of human rights in Myanmar. Thank you again for your continued support on the important violations of human rights issues. (Documented evidence with photos and video files can be found in another separate document.)
We would like to put forward a current issue that we believe is of the utmost importance in this critical time. We are all aware of the events happening in Myanmar. Injured civilians and doctors that were giving care to them are being detained daily and are given no chance to get their wounds treated or to carry out life saving measures. Atrocities are occurring in this current conflict in Myanmar and there are many things that should be addressed to improve the current situation. However, it is our firm belief that if the doctors and medics were allowed to give medical care to the injured and the wounded seek medical attention without the fear of their own safety, many lives could have been saved among those 700 injured in this conflict.
One day without adequate health care is one more day with unnecessary and preventable deaths. The people dying are not just nobodies. They are our country’s future generations, parents of these children and people that are contributing to the country in their own able ways. As such, it is important for these people to get medical care without any fear and for medical professionals to provide the care whenever and wherever needed.
Everyday after the coup, us, doctors, nurses and medics wake up to see the blood stain spilled by our fellow countrymen and hear about severe and tragic deaths that could have been prevented. We are forced to watch scenes unfold daily in which people are begging for help but nobody dares to, because of the enormous threat to their own safety. On hearing so many heartbreaking stories of those injured, we feel the crushing guilt of a helpless doctor that could do nothing but let his patient slip away to death right under his eyes. It is truly agonizing for us to see our fellow countrymen taking their last breaths in front of our very eyes, just because they were prevented from getting adequate medical treatment in time.
However, in Myanmar, the police and the Tatmadaw are intentionally targeting medical cover sites, charity clinics and hospitals that provide critical care to the injured. They take away injured civilians and dead bodies alike to hide evidence, leave the wounded unattended to their eventual deaths, do not give the dead back to the family for proper burial, and go so far as to demand money to get the bodies returned to their families. By striping the injured off their fundamental human rights to assess the immediate life saving treatments and by effectively and forcibly preventing the doctors from providing the essential medical care to these people, many lives which could otherwise have been saved are unnecessarily lost.
In some places, doctors are forced to keep the lights off and work in the dark just so they can continue giving care to the patients. There are numerous reports of doctors doing life saving operations with just a torchlight to prevent the police from finding them and arresting them. What these doctors are trying to do, saving lives, is by all means not illegal under any applicable law on the Earth. However, they are forced to operate in hiding just to carry out their humanitarian duties. Ambulances are being shot on sight with no exception, and are stopped and forced to turn back especially at night. Those that need emergency healthcare during night have no means to reach the hospitals. These are only a few examples of countless events happening in Myanmar every day since the coup on February 1.
Common Article 3 of the GCs prohibits violence to life and person (including cruel treatment and torture), the taking of hostages, humiliating and degrading treatment, and execution without regular trial against non-combatants, including persons hors de combat (wounded, sick and shipwrecked). Civilians are entitled to respect for their physical and mental integrity, their honour, family rights, religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. This principle of humane treatment has been affirmed by the ICRC as a norm of customary international law, applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts.
These laws on humanitarianism, agreed and implemented by every country in the world are currently brazenly being broken in Myanmar. The ones that are committing these atrocities are also being overlooked and ignored by those in charge of these organizations with no retribution. This rampant impunity has emboldened the Tatmadaw to keep committing the crimes against humanity widely and systematically across the nation. There are also many atrocities, of which no photographic evidence could have been taken to point out the wrongdoings of the Myanmar police and the Tatmadaw. Just because it is happening everyday does not mean we have to accept it or integrate it to our daily lives.
We are humbly requesting the international organizations to put pressure on the military junta in every possible way and to take effective and pragmatic measures against them so that the police and the Tatmadaw stop purposely targeting the medical professionals, and we can provide the necessary care to the injured and the latter are also able to seek the required treatments without the fear of their own safety.
We have collected a large volume of evidence and prepared a record of atrocities committed by the security forces in Myanmar. We have even compiled a document on the atrocities. And yet…
“The worst images are those that were unseen to the world”– Speech by Barack Hussein Obama II (44th President of the United States of America) On May 2, 2011, after the Operation Neptune Spear against Osama Bin Laden
We are determined to continue working until the medical personnel can provide required medical care to the wounded protesters freely in Myanmar. (Please visit
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yOuyPURQkkmH_b5MkGuPz6N25m6kR7AFLl_xoJFk aDo/edit?usp=sharing for our updates.)
We would like to conclude our Open Letter by mentioning famous quote of Martin Luther King Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”Martin Luther King Jr.
Myanmar Doctors for Human Rights Network
Volunteer Doctors in Myanmar
University of Medicine 1 Students’ Union
University of Medicine 2 Students’ Union
University of Medicine Mandalay Students’ Union
University of Medicine Magway Students’ Union
University of Medicine TaungGyi Students’ Union
University of Traditional Medicine Students’ Union
University of Community Health Students’ Union
Nursing University Yangon Students’ Union
University of Pharmacy Yangon Students’ Union
University of Pharmacy Mandalay Students’ Union
University of Medical Technology Yangon Students’ Union
University of Medical Technology Yangon Students’ Union
University of Dental Medicine Yangon Students’ Union
University of Dental Medicine Mandalay Students’ Union
University of Veterinary Science Students’ Union