This week on the Human Rights Channel, eyewitness videos from Myanmar, Ukraine, and Peru document critical evidence of abuse. In Myanmar, the attack on a Red Cross convoy transporting civilians away from fighting is captured on camera by someone sitting in the back of the truck. In Ukraine the massive amount of video taken by protesters and reporters during the Euromaidan protests of late 2013 through early last year provide evidence of what a new report describes as crimes against humanity. And in Peru, after the death of a student protester, an oil company halts some of its operations, and indigenous groups continue to demand compensation for the company’s use of their land.
Possible War Crime in Myanmar
The Burmese government and the rebel group, the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), are blaming each other for recent deadly clashes in and around the city of Laogai (also known as Laukkai) earlier this week. A spokesperson for MNDAA told the Democratic Voice of Burma that between February 14 and 17, “The Burmese army killed everyone regardless of sex or age. They killed more than 100 civilians.” A government spokesperson denied those allegations, saying those killed were rebels pretending to be civilians.
Since the fighting began, humanitarian convoys transporting civilians from the fighting have been attacked. The video above includes footage taken on a Red Cross truck that came under fire, and testimony from an aid worker. “Intentional attacks on humanitarian relief personnel are strictly prohibited under international law,” an Amnesty International spokesperson told the Democratic Voice of Burma, “and may amount to war crimes.”
Videos Document “Crimes Against Humanity” During Euromaidan
While fighting continues between Ukraine’s military and Russian-aligned rebels in eastern Ukraine, the events leading up to today’s armed conflict are the subject of a new report. Compiled by 13 civil society groups, the report, titled “The Price of Freedom,” documents the brutal crackdown on Euromaidan protests one year ago. It cites dozens of YouTube videos uploaded by news outlets and protesters that capture abuses committed by those in power. Collectively, the report concludes, the abuse documented constitutes a crime against humanity. To excerpt a summary by Roman Romanov, one of the authors:
“A large body of photo and video evidence of violent attacks on peaceful protesters confirms that perpetrators were confident in their absolute impunity.” – The Price of Freedom
[/pullquote]”These crimes led to at least 114 deaths, including 94 Euromaidan activists, arbitrary imprisonment of hundreds of people, and physical injuries sustained by thousands of protesters. The fate of 27 missing protesters is still unknown. As well as death, injury, and unlawful arrest, multiple instances of kidnappings of protesters, torture, and ill treatment by law enforcement and affiliated criminal groups were documented.
We found that these crimes were systematic, well organized, and committed over a short period of time. A large body of photo and video evidence of violent attacks on peaceful protesters confirms that perpetrators were confident in their absolute impunity.”
One of the videos cited in the report, documenting Berkut police beating detainees on December 1, 2013.
Click here for the full report. For videos documenting the Maidan protests and human rights abuse in Ukraine see this Human Rights Channel playlist and blog post.
An Oil Company Halts Production in Peru, but Indigenous Groups Continue Their Protests
Over the weekend, protesters from indigenous groups of Peru’s northern Amazon region occupied an airfield used by the Argentine oil company, Pluspetrol. The peaceful occupation is the latest demonstration in weeks of protests against Pluspetrol, the largest oil producer in Peru. Protesters are demanding compensation for the use of their land and for the environmental damage they say the company’s activities will cause. On February 11, hundreds of miles away in the district of Pichanaki, where Pluspetrol has another base of operations, police launched tear gas and what observers say were live bullets, killing one protester.
After those clashes, the government brokered a deal for Pluspetrol to halt production in Pichanaki. For related videos and photos, see this report by the local media activist collective, Guerrilla Audiovisual, which produced the video above.
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