NEW YORK, March 1 (KUNA) -- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres strongly condemns the violent crackdown in Myanmar and is deeply disturbed by the increase in deaths and serious injuries.
A statement issued by Guterres' spokesman late Sunday underlined that "the use of lethal force against peaceful protestors and arbitrary arrests are unacceptable," as Guterres "urged the international community to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression."
The United Nations Office of Human Rights (OHCHR) "strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and called on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters," said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the office, in a statement.
She went on to say that throughout the day, in several locations throughout the country, police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that "according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office - has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded."
According to the UN, reports indicate that "deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds" in several areas, while tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades.
OHCHR confirmed that "the people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy."
Shamdasani underscored that "these fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression."
OHCHR said, "Since the beginning of the coup d'etat in Myanmar on 1 February, the police and security forces have targeted an ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists and medical professionals." (end)