In a statement, Tom Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, and Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, highlighted credible reports of activists forced into hiding after warrants were issued against them, under Article 505(a) of the Criminal Code.
Their homes were raided, property seized and relatives threatened and harassed, they said, noting that many others who were unable to flee have been arbitrarily arrested.
Lawyers representing those detained after the coup have themselves been detained, as have journalists covering the protests, the statement said.
Special Rapporteur Andrews said the people of Myanmar appreciate the expressions of concern from the international community, “but what they desperately need is action”.
“It is critical that nations stand behind and for the beleaguered people of Myanmar, who are being held hostage by an illegal military junta. It is time for strong, targeted and coordinated action, including economic sanctions and an arms embargo.”
“A more determined, united international solidarity with human rights defenders in Myanmar is required to prevent further attacks,” added Mr Andrews, reiterating his call for an emergency coalition for the people of Myanmar to end what he described as the “ regime of terror” in the country.
More than 892 men, women and children have been killed and countless injured by security forces since the February 1 coup.
Thousands of people across Myanmar have also been displaced as a result of clashes between the military and regional armed groups, according to humanitarian aid workers, and the situation is further complicated by the deteriorating COVID-19 situation, which poses an overwhelming risk to health and medical services in the entire country.
Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, praised the courage of human rights defenders, despite enormous risks to their own security.
“Women human rights defenders are especially at risk in remote rural areas and are often beaten and kicked before being sent to prison, where they can be tortured and subjected to sexual assault without medical care,” said Ms Lawlor.
“We have heard from women human rights defenders from different ethnic groups in different parts of the country. Their courage to continue to speak out against the human rights abuses committed by the military against the people of the country, despite the threat of gender-based violence and the enormous risks to their security, is astonishing.”
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of the so-called Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN personnel and receive no salary. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.