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  • Writer's pictureMyanmar Mission To UN

Bi-Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (01-12-2023 to 17-12-2023)


Bi-weekly Update on the Current Situation in Myanmar


(01-12-2023 to 17-12-2023)


About two years and ten months ago on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the civilian government, and unlawfully detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, and other senior members of the civilian government, parliamentarians and activists. Since then, the Myanmar military has ignored the will of the people of Myanmar, placed the country in turmoil, and made people suffer as a result of its inhumane and disproportionate acts.


As of 15 December 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military has ruthlessly killed 4,256 people and arrested 25,559 people. 19,765 people remain in detention and 163 people have been sentenced to death, including 120 post-coup death row prisoners and 43 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians. Four democracy activists who were sentenced to death were executed by the military junta in July 2022.


The illegal military junta again unlawfully extended the so-called state of emergency on 31 July 2023, aiming to prolong military rule for another six months in Myanmar.


Serious crimes committed by the Military  

           

The systematic and widespread nature of the Crimes against Humanity perpetrated by the junta military casts a harrowing shadow over the lives of its citizens. Throughout November 2023, the callous actions of the junta have led to an alarming number of casualties, detentions, and unjust imprisonments. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the extent of these atrocities is stark, marked by targeted killings and a campaign of fear-driven arrests. These grim statistics paint a distressing picture of the ongoing persecution of the military junta against civilians, highlighting the urgent need for timely effective actions from the international community against the military's flagrant violations of human rights and international law.

           

Burning the civilians alive in a village in Monywa Township

           

AAPP reported that on 2 December 2023, junta forces, stationed at Hswann Yay Htet Petrol Station on Monywa-Mandalay Road Section, and the members of paramilitary group of Pyu Saw Htee from Taw Pu Village in Monywa Township raided Kya Paing Village in Monywa Township of Sagaing Region.


The source said that the junta troops and the members of Pyu Saw Htee group committed mass murder of the civilians, by burning them alive. They set fire to houses in the village, and as a result, over 100 houses have been burned down.

           

Firing artillery in Yinmarbin Township

           

It was reported that on 5 December 2023, the junta forces based near Aung Zaya Bridge fired heavy artillery rounds into Than Pho Village in Yinmarbin Township of Sagaing Region. Due to the artillery explosion on a house in the village, three civilians were killed from artillery shrapnel.

         

Conducting aerial bombings in Muse Township

           

AAPP reported that on 10 December 2023, a clash occurred between junta forces and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) at the 105-mile Trade Zone in Muse Township of Shan State. During the incident, the junta forces carried out aerial bombings near the Trade zone, resulting in killing a civilian named Tun Wai who has been hit by bomb shrapnel and injuring his wife in the head.


Firing artillery shells in Minbya Town

           

News reported that on 10 December 2023, the junta troops from LIB-380, based in Minbya Town of Rakhine State, fired artillery shells. Due to the artillery explosion in the compound of a house on No. 6 Lane in Oke Kar Pyan Ward within the Town, a 13-year-old girl named Sapal was killed from artillery shrapnel, while she was playing in the compound.

           

Using excessive force on civilian areas

           

News reported that the junta has been using excessive force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, either after clashes with EROs and PDFs or without any reported clashes.


According to the local news, in the recent weeks, the junta forces intensified its attacks, conducting aerial bombings with fighter planes and using heavy weaponry in various locations across the country, including Namhkan Township in Shan State, Pauk Township in Magway Region, Tamu and Tigyaing Towns in Sagaing Region, Kyaukkyi Township in Bago Region, Loikaw Town in Kayah State, Pauktaw Township in Rakhine State, and Mohnyin Town in Kachin State. Due to these attacks, numerous civilians have been murdered, including underage children. Besides, churches, schools and houses have been destroyed, leading to the evacuation of tens of thousands of locals for safety.

           

It was further reported that the junta committed the brutal and inhumane acts of firing various weaponry at civilian areas, carrying out raids, and burning down houses across the country. The targeted places included Wuntho Township and Tamu Town in Sagaing Region, Pauktaw and Ponnagyun Townships in Rakhine State, Waw Township in Bago Region, and Madaya Township in Mandalay Region. As a result, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee for safety.

           

Due to the re-emergence of clashes in Rakhine State, the junta used excessive force and imposed blockades on land and naval transportation, which prevented the locals from accessing to the medical centres. As a result, many civilians including pregnant women lost their life. The incidents made the situations and more people further in need of medical assistance.

    

Arresting arbitrarily Civilians in Sittwe Town

           

According to Myanmar Now news, junta military and police forces arbitrarily arrested 53 civilians in Sittwe in Rakhine State on 12 December 2023, and those arrested were not allowed to contact with their families.


The source said that the junta forces arrested 26 civilians from Sittwe, 24 civilians from Pauk Taw Township, as well as one civilian from Min Pyar Township, one civilian from Myauk Oo Township, and one civilian from Kyauk Taw Township.


It was reported that the Arakan Army announced the list of those arrested, mentioning their names. Those arrested include two children who are in 13 years old and the elderly civilians who are over 60 and 70.


Firing heavy artillery shells in the villages within the townships of Madaya and Thabeikkyin


Myanmar Now news reported that the junta forces attacked and fired the heavy artillery shells in the villages within Madaya Township and Thabeikkyin Township in Mandalay Region.


On 11 December 2023, due to the artillery explosion in Khaung Kyi Village in Thabeikkyin, a civilian was killed and three civilians were injured.


On 13 December 2023, the villages located in the east of Madaya Township were attacked with heavy artillery shells. At the night-time on that day, the junta forces fired heavy artillery and attacked the villages in the west of the township, and set fire on Sule Kone Village. Due to the artillery explosion in Thaphan Khei Village in the east of Madaya Township on 13 December 2023, three civilians including two children were killed, and one civilian was injured.


Situation in Loikaw Town of Karenni (Kayah) State

           

According to the Irrawaddy news published on 14 December 2023, the remaining local residents in Loikaw Town continue to flee the war-torn city of Karenni (Kayah) State, which has been under the shelling and airstrikes of the junta forces to counter the resistance attacks launched by the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, Karenni Army, Karenni National People’s Liberation Front and People Defense Forces since 11 November 2023.

           

It was reported that in the morning of 10 December 2023, a main market in southern Loikaw was destroyed and the city has been hit by the frequent junta shelling. On 19 December 2023, at the office of the Shwe Loikaw Volunteer group in Min Su Ward within the city, an unexplained blaze broke out. According to a local resident, the junta’s shelling continues to explode on 13 December, and the civilians were in constant fear of junta shelling and airstrikes.

           

It was reported that less than 10 percent of residents remain in the city, and the volunteers said that the majority of displaced people are sheltering in Nyaung Shwe, Taunggyi and Kalaw townships, whereas others remain in the religious buildings in Loikaw.

           

The Karenni Humanitarian Aid Initiative reported on 8 December 2023 that at least 82 civilians, including 12 children, had been killed by junta shelling, aerial bombings and shooting in Loikaw and Demoso Township in Karenni State and neighboring Pekon Township in southern Shan State.


Torching a village in Magway Region

           

The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 15 December 2023, the junta column consisting of 100 troops raided and destroyed Thar Si Village in Myaing Township of Magway Region, burning down the houses in the village.


Due to their attack, 49 houses and 2 rice mills were destroyed, and 13 goats were killed in fire. It was reported that when the junta troops left the village on 16 December 2023, the entire village has been torched.

           

Firing heavy artillery in Gangaw Township

           

According to the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the junta forces fired heavy artillery in the afternoon of 16 December 2023, in which the artillery explosion hit the house located in the north of Shone Shi Village in the Gangaw Township within Yaw Region of Magway Region.


The local residents said that due to the explosion, the two civilians were killed, a child (one year and six months old) and a 70-year-old woman named Yin Htwe, and five civilians were injured, including three women, one man (32) and a 4-month-old child.


Arresting Journalists in Myeik Town


The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 11 December 2023, the junta forces arrested two journalists namely Aung San Oo and Myo Myint Oo at their homes in the southern coastal city of Myeik in Tanintharyi Region, and they are being held at an interrogation centre. It was reported that the journalists work for the news site Dawei Watch, and they were arrested, shortly after returning home from hiding.


According to the editor of the outlet, the security forces had told the family members, that the journalists were arrested over their reporting. The source said that the police confiscated phones and laptops from the journalists and their family members.


Dawei Watch issued a statement, calling the arrests illegal and calling for the journalists to be immediately released.


Sentencing a civilian inside Pathein Prison

           

News reported that on 30 November 2023, the special court inside Pathein Prison sentenced a civilian named Chit Su Tun (aka Chit Pu) from Pathein Town in Ayeyarwady Region to serve 22 years in prison under Sections 52, 54 of the Counter-Terrorism Law and Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code. It was reported that she was charged for allegedly supporting CDM staff and PDFs, and for having an affiliation with the explosion in Pathein Township. The source said that she was arrested by junta forces and police at her house in June 2023.


Activities of the National Unity Government

           

On 1 December 2023, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration issued an order calling for civil servants who are not participating in the civil disobedience movement (CDM) to contact the relevant township administration body and join the revolution by bringing relevant ministerial documents. This order was mainly aimed at non-CDMers in the recently-controlled areas of Magway Region from the police force, general administration department, bureau of special investigations, prison department, fire service, and the department of immigration and population. The order states that resistance forces across the country are increasing military operations as the Spring Revolution gains momentum and takes over towns.


On 1 December 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the Informal Working Group Meeting on Myanmar at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. The Permanent Representative said that while the unspeakable tragedy unfolding in Myanmar is deepening overtime especially during these days, the question of the effective action from the UN has become louder and louder. He added that even a question “where is the UN to save lives of the people Myanmar?” raised now, and most importantly, the international community should not fail the people of Myanmar again.


On 2 December, the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the National University Government Daw Zin Mar Aung met with Myanmar communities in Osaka in Japan, delivered a speech and discussed with the community, during her visit to Japan.


On 3 December 2023, the Kawlin District defense forces began implementing public administration, after they have captured the district from the grip of the terrorist military on 6 November under the administration of Military Region No. (1). Kawlin Township has many district-level government offices and the NUG’s relevant ministries are prioritizing to set up functioning offices again. Communication is being further strengthened to enhance the administrative capabilities of village and ward-level public administration bodies and the various people’s defense forces are protecting the people and their livelihoods.


During the Central Committee of Interim Implementation of Local Administration meeting on 7 December 2023, Prime Minister of the National Unity Government of Myanmar Mahn Winn Khaing Thann said that he believes the Spring Revolution will soon reach a turning point as the military coordination strengthens among the resistance forces.

           

On 7 December 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the Open Debate on “Threat to International Peace and Security Transnational Organized Crime: growing challenges and new threats” at the United Nations Security Council. Permanent Representative said that it is attested clearly that the military junta is not only the biggest obstacle to the country’s peace, stability and development, but also a destabilizing force to the whole region, and their illegal coup, atrocities and deep-rooted corruption are a major factor in enabling the transitional organized crime, thus undermining the rule of law at the regional level.

           

On 8 December 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement under Agenda Item 72: Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the United Nations, including special economic assistance at the Plenary Meeting of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. The Permanent Representative said that providing humanitarian assistance through community networks and cross-border channels by local actors in conflict-affected areas remains the best possible modality in a situation like Myanmar. He added that local actors have access, trust and acceptance from the community, which are integral to delivering the contextually appropriate and effective humanitarian response, commending the courage, dedication and creativity of the local, ethnic and community volunteers in their efforts to deliver life-saving aids to the vulnerable and the needy population. The Permanent Representative urged the international organizations and donor countries to provide a more flexible approach and increased funding to local aid groups, and in addition, localization should be community-centric, based on listening to the needs and knowledge of the people on the ground and their active participation. He stressed that in this context, the NUG and the Emergency Operation Coordinating Committee (EOCC) are working directly with local actors and people on the ground to safeguard civilians, deliver urgent humanitarian assistance, health services, emergency communications and supplies. The Permanent Representative called for the international actors to collaborate with the EOCC to leave no one behind and provide relief assistance to the vulnerable community in Myanmar.


On 11 December 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement on Chapter 4 of the Summit of the Future: Youth and Future Generations at the UNGA Informal Consultations on the Preparation of the Pact of the Future. The Permanent Representative said that to create a conductive environment for the 2030 Agenda, SDG16 is the cornerstone of the successful implementation of other SDGs, and political instability, peace deficit and conflicts remain major impediments to sustainable development. It was also said that achieving peace and security, through strong and just institutions, will create a conducive environment for achieving the 2030 Agenda that will benefit both the present and future generations.


At the Department of State of the U.S. on 15 December 2023, the Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Moe Zaw Oo and Deputy Minister for Human Rights Mr. Aung Kyaw Moe met with Allison Laura Peters, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and other Officers from Office of Assistance for East, South, and Central Asia Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, Office of Global Criminal Justice, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Office of Mainland Southeast Asia, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. During the meeting, the two sides discussed on the recent situations in Myanmar, displaced people, the provision of assistances, and the current situations of the Rohingya people.


On 15 December 2023, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar met with Ambassador Hameed Opeloyera, Permanent Observer of the OIC, and discussed on the issues of Rohingya, asking the OIC member states to widely continue to engage in the restoration of Democracy in Myanmar, and to cooperate with the National Unity Government.


On 15 December 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the Open Debate on “Addressing the threat posed by diversion, illicit trafficking and misuse of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition to peace and security” at the United Nations Security Council. The Permanent Representative said that there is abundance of evidence of gross misuse of weapons including heavy weapons and jet fighters by the military junta against the civilian population across the country on a daily basis. While appreciating individual member states which have already imposed arms embargo or restrictions against the junta as well as jet fuel, the Permanent Representative urged other countries to do so, and these restrictions need to continue until Myanmar has a professional military accountable to the people through democratic civilian oversight. He added that limiting the junta’s ability to continue to commit atrocities against the civilians is crucial not only for the protection of civilians but also for creating conducive conditions towards a sustainable solution. It was also underlined that it has been almost one year after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2669 on Myanmar, and Myanmar seriously and urgently needs a follow-up enforcement Security Council resolution to save lives in Myanmar. He urged the UN Security Council to take action now, and called on all individual member states to take into serious consideration of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis caused by their weapons exported to the military junta.


Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état

           

On 8 December 2023, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) calls on the international community to work to ensure the protection of women in Myanmar, particularly as the illegal junta’s military losses continue to mount, at the time approaching to the end of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The APHR Chair and member of the Indonesian House of Representatives Mercy Barends said that the junta of Myanmar has long used sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon of war, expressing concern that this will escalate as the junta seeks retaliation for their recent losses. APHR called on the UN Security Council to refer the Myanmar junta to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and use universal jurisdiction to prosecute the junta for the systematic sexual violence as well as other crimes of humanity that it has committed. Futhermore, APHR, called on ASEAN to pressure the UN Security Council to adopt strong measures to ensure the junta’s compliance to Security Council Resolution 2669, including targeted economic sanctions, a comprehensive arms embargo, as well as the aforementioned referral to the ICC.


On 9 December 2023, the President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta publicly urged the military council’s soldiers to stop killing civilians and return to barracks. In his message, the Timor-Leste President said that it cannot be an army that is at the service of a few and oppresses the people, kills the people, including innocent children and the women and elderly, the school teachers, medical doctors, bankers, peasants. The President asked those serving in the Army, in the Air Force, in the Navy, and in the police, to not turn the guns on the own people. The Timor-Leste President also said, “The Rohingya are people of Myanmar but the problem of Myanmar is larger than the people of Rohingya or Arakan State. It is the whole of Myanmar that has been enslaved by the military for almost 60 years since Independence. He also advised the international Community to pay close attention to the situation in Myanmar.


On 12 December 2023, the World Bank issued a press release, stating that in the near term in Myanmar, little economic growth is expected, as rising conflict, trade and logistics disruptions, kyat volatility and high inflation combine to negatively impact businesses and households. It was said that even if conflict does not escalate further, growth is expected to remain subdued over the rest of 2024 and into 2025 given a broad-based slowdown across productive sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, and trade.The press release stressed that the size of the economy of Myanmar remains around 10% lower than it was in 2019, leaving it the only economy in East Asia that has not returned to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity.


On 13 December 2023, the Statement by the Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno Marsudi at the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) at the UN Office in Geneva in Switzerland stressed that the international community must work together to end the conflict in Myanmar and to restore democracy so that the Rohingyas can safely return home.

 

As the illegal Myanmar military junta is set to host the 26th Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) program on 15 December in Naypyidaw, Justice for Myanmar called on GMS countries to cancel the conference and ban the junta from the GMS program. It was said that the Asian Development Bank, which acts as the GMS Secretariat, will not attend the Ministerial Conference and will not provide any support. Justice For Myanmar also asked the Asia Development Bank (ADB) to reconsider its support for the GMS program while it continues to engage with the junta.


           

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Date:  17 December 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York

 

         

 

 

 

 

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