Australia has reportedly begun granting protection to defectors from Myanmar’s armed forces who have escaped with tales of the military’s brutality, according to reports in the Australian media.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) and The Age have spoken to two former members of the military whose pleas for asylum have been accepted by the Australian government since January.
One ex-soldier, who joined a resistance group before fleeing to the Myanmar-Thailand border, told of how he deserted because he didn’t “accept the coup,” SMH reports.
Speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for his family members still living in Myanmar, he said he did not want to kill civilians, and noted that there are many former soldiers in hiding close to the Myanmar-Thailand border.
Another former soldier, who has already been resettled in Australia with his family and also spoke on the proviso that his identity was not revealed, said there had been threats on his life even after he had fled to Thailand.
The United Nations this week released a report accusing the Myanmar military of potential war crimes and crimes against humanity, cataloguing atrocities including security forces’ targeting of civilians with air strikes, the burning of people to death and the use of torture.
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