U.N. expert calls for coordinated action against Myanmar junta

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar on Monday called on the international community to coordinate sanctions to counter the abuses perpetrated by the southeast Asian country's military.

Since a junta seized power in February 2021, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos, with a resistance movement fighting the military on multiple fronts following a bloody crackdown on opponents.

Thomas Andrews, the special rapporteur, told reporters in Geneva that the junta's violence had galvanised and strengthened the opposition, and that coordinated, targeted sanctions could further weaken the military leadership.

"They have less control of the country than they did at the beginning of this coup," Andrews said of Myanmar's junta. "We could make a very significant difference if we increased our support and we coordinated that support...I think it would make a world of difference."

Andrews -- who earlier on Monday addressed the Human Rights Council, the only body made up of governments to protect human rights worldwide -- said countries should analyse how they could deal the greatest blow to the junta.

He said their analysis should lead them to "coordinate together the implementation of sanctions and an arms embargo".

"There is precedent for some coordination between some countries," Andrews said. "So what I'm saying is 'let's build on that'."

A U.N. report published this month found that violence had intensified in northwestern and southeastern Myanmar due to the military's "indiscriminate air strikes and artillery shelling, mass burnings of villages to displace civilian populations, and denial of humanitarian access".

The junta has previously said it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against terrorists and denied atrocities have taken place.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ed Osmond)