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Information Updates on the Current Situation in Myanmar (November 2023)


Information Updates on the Current Situation in Myanmar


(November 2023)


It has been more than 34 months since the Myanmar military carried out a coup d’état and removed the democratically elected government of Myanmar. Since the coup on 1 February 2021, the illegitimate military junta has detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, and cabinet members, senior government officials, parliamentarians, and human rights activists. The junta continues to commit gross human rights violations against innocent civilians, dragging the country into political, economic, and social turmoil. 


As of 30 November 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the junta has murdered 4,209 civilians and arrested 25,484. Of those arrested, 19,709 remain in detention, whereas 163 have been sentenced to death, including 120 post-coup death row prisoners. Amongst the 119 being sentenced in absentia, 43 were sentenced to death. Four democracy activists on death row were executed in July 2022.


Military Junta’s Crimes Against Humanity


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.


People Murdered, Arrested and Given prison sentences

 

According to AAPP, from 1 to 30 November 2023, a total of 139 people: 53 women and 86 men, have been killed by the junta across the country. Among them, 71 people were killed by the junta’s artillery strikes. Shan State records the highest number of fatalities with 24 victims.


AAPP also recorded that during this one-month period, junta arrested 50 people: 23 women and 27 men. The highest number of arrests was in Mandalay Region with the recorded arrest of 11 people. Moreover, during November, 43 people - 8 women and 35 men, have been given prison sentences under specious charges by courts subservient to the junta, and are still detained in prisons across the country, with Sagaing Region recording the highest number of sentences with 40 people.


Religious personnel being killed

         

AAPP reported that from February 2021 to 15 November 2023, a total of 31 religious personnel were killed by the junta across the country. Among them, 10 were killed by the junta’s airstrikes, of which 6 were from the Sagaing Region.


Women killed and arrested in Sagaing Region

According to the AAPP, from February 2021 to 8 November 2023, 291 women have been killed by the junta in Sagaing Region. Among the 291 deceased, 79 women were killed due to the junta’s airstrike making the highest number of deaths within the region. During this period, 645 women have been arbitrarily arrested by the junta and 199 women have been given prison sentences under specious charges by the junta’s kangaroo courts and still detained in prisons in Sagaing Region. Among 199 sentences, 7 women have been given life imprisonment and 1 woman has been given death penalty.


Throughout the final week of October and the initial weeks of November, amid clashes in northern Shan State between junta forces and the Three Brotherhood Alliance,  junta forces used excessive force, deploying fighter planes and artillery weapons to retaliate by attacking non-military target civilian areas. It resulted in the deaths and casualties of civilians as well as forcing tens of thousands of civilians to flee for safety. On 6 November 2023, AAPP reported that during the operation, the number of Internally Displaced Persons had risen to 40,000.


According to news reports, during the above-mentioned period, junta forces have initiated offensive operations into areas without any clashes, setting fire to villages and employing various weaponry. They have raided villages and took local civilians as hostages and used them as human shields. Local residents were also targeted for tortures and subsequent murders.


Based on these disturbing events, it is evident that grave violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and war crimes are being committed.


People from the Education Sector are being killed, arrested and given sentences


According to the data from AAPP, from January to November 23, 2023, 37 people - 11 women and 26 men - from the education sector have been killed by the junta across the country. These people included teachers, students and employees, and Chin State recorded the highest number of deaths with 12 victims. During this period, the junta arrested 75 people - 47 women and 28 men - from the education sector and 73 people are still under detention across the country. Among the arrests, Mandalay Region records the highest number of arrests with 26 individuals.

 

Martial Law imposed in eight townships


During the escalating military situation since the 1027 Military Operation, the junta imposed martial law in eight townships in northern Shan State on 12 November. The total number of townships under martial law, including those 8 townships, has reached 54. 

        

Using Chemical Bombs against civilians


Irrawaddy News reported that the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) said Myanmar’s junta would continue to use chemical weapons, including against civilians, across the country. According to MNDAA, after the junta camp, in Namsalat village, Hseni Township, northern Shan State, has been seized by the MNDAA, junta forces dropped four chemical bombs on that hilltop outpost on 23 November. Once being attacked, the MNDAA troops reportedly suffered from dizziness and vomiting. The MNDAA also said that it was not the first use of chemical weapons since Operation 1027 began in northern Shan State on 27 October. News also stated that the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ally of the MNDAA in the Brotherhood Alliance, reported the use of a chemical bomb on its troops at the Sakhan Thit hill base in Namkham Township on 18 November. The TNLA also reported the junta’s use of a chemical bomb on 4 November at Mong Kyat camp in Lashio Township, which had been seized from the military. Reportedly, TNLA soldiers suffered from dizziness, breathlessness, nausea, extreme agitation, fatigue and low blood oxygen levels.


It is also learnt that further investigation is needed to confirm the use of actual chemical weapons.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire Against Civilians in Kachin State


The spokesperson of KIA said that on 1 November, junta launched a second day of airstrikes civilian areas near the headquarters of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), according to AFP. The strikes come as the military clashes an alliance of armed groups across a northern region. According to KIA spokesperson, military jet struck a site near Laiza Town in Kachin State on that day. He said it came a day after a jet dropped three bombs on Laiza, killing one person and wounding 12 others.


AAPP reported that during the night of 14 November, junta troops from IB-56 and forces from Shwegu Town police station in Kachin State, fired artillery shells in an indiscriminate manner to the civilian residence area. The military artillery explosion on a house in No. 2 Khon Kam Ward, Shwegu Town, killed a man with his head blown out while he was inside the house.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire Against Civilians in Magway Region


In the afternoon of 29 October, a local identified as Soe Tint Oo from Kin Village in Hnaw Pin Village Tract was killed by artillery shrapnel indiscriminately fired by junta forces stationed in Hpan Kan Village, Myaing Township, Magway Region. The shootings were done without any clashes taking place in the area. Soe Tint Oo’s four-year-old daughter Thet Htar Nwe also lost her arm and later succumbed to her injuries at around 10 p.m. on that day.


News reported that on 3 November, two locals from Min Village, Gangaw Township, Magway Region, Aung Hsann and Myo Lwin Oo, were killed by artillery shrapnel fired by junta forces. Reportedly, junta forces fired artillery weapons while a police guard post in Min Village was under attack.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire Against Civilians in Sagaing Region

 

According to news, since the beginning of the clashes in Tigyaing Township, Sagaing Region, the junta air force has reportedly attacked several wards and villages where they believe resistance groups and allied Ethnic Revolutionary Organizations (EROs) are active. According to Myanmar Now, resistance sources mentioned that, a number of junta aircrafts, including four fighter jets and a Mi-35 helicopter, flew over the township on 10 November, bombing and firing on the suspected positions of the People’s Defence Forces (PDF) and allied members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and Arakan Army (AA). The helicopter, reportedly, was also used to cover for another aircraft as it dropped off weapons and supplies for junta forces. On 10 November, following the intense clashes occurred between junta forces and a coalition of PDFs in Tigyaing Town, air strikes deployed by the junta forces destroyed houses and monasteries in Tigyaing Town. During the attacks, a monk identified as Sandar Thiri from Mingalar Yankin Monastery was killed by shrapnel.


According to Irrawaddy News, during the clashes between junta forces and the local resistance forces in Taze Township, the junta has conducted at least six airstrikes, and airlifted around 70 junta soldiers from Ye-U Township to Taze Town as reinforcements. The junta’s base in Taze town and Artillery Battalion 6006 in Kantbalu are currently shelling nearby Taze villages, killing a Taze resident by a regime shell on 29 November.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire Against Civilians in Chin State

 

On 15 November, junta forces dropped bombs using two fighter jets into Vawilu Village, Matupi Township, Chin State, without any clashes occurring. As a result, eleven locals, including children, were killed.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire against Civilians in Karenni (Kayah) State

 

According to AAPP, during the weeks of November, most of the locals in Loikaw Town, Karenni State, were trapped inside the town due to clashes between junta forces and PDFs. Due to airstrikes and artillery fired from the junta forces, around 50 locals were killed. Also, a significant number of civilians were injured and approximately 40,000 locals had to flee for safety.


On 26 November, regime shelling targeted a church in Naung Yar ward, Loikaw. According to the Loikaw Diocese, at least 82 people, including the bishop, priests and employees, fled Christ the King Cathedral by 27 November.


Irrawaddy news reported that on 27 November, Myanmar junta airstrike hit civilian areas of Loikaw, the capital of Karenni State amid relentless regime shelling. Reportedly, the streets in Daw Au Khu and Naung Yar, Nar Nat Taw wards of Loikaw were empty as most residents have fled because of particularly heavy junta shelling and airstrikes since resistance attacks began on 11 November 2023. More than 40,000 residents have fled the city. In so-called response to the attacks of the combined forces of KNDF, Karenni Army, Karenni National People’s Liberation Front and People Defense Forces since 11 November, junta launched artillery attacks nearly all the time. On 29 November, a junta warplane carried out at least two airstrikes in Loikaw and all the junta’s attacks in November have damaged many houses, monasteries and churches. According to a volunteer in Loikaw, at least 10 percent of residents remain in the city, sheltering in their homes or religious buildings in southern Loikaw and blackouts, communication breakdowns and fuel shortages are making life tough for the remaining residents. According to the Kantarawaddy Times which cited a Karenni Army representative, at least 60 junta airstrikes were carried out on 29 November.


Irrawaddy news reported on 29 November 2023 that according to aid groups, at least 76 civilians, including twelve children, have been killed and many others wounded by junta bombardments, airstrikes and shooting in Karenni State since 11 November.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire against Civilians in Rakhine State

 

News reported that starting from 13 November, clashes between the Arakan Army and junta forces resumed, and the junta forces used naval vessels and helicopters during the clashes to shoot and capture local civilians. There were numerous deaths and casualties following the junta’s attacks. Civilians were reportedly trapped in the clashes, while the majority had to flee almost entirely out of town. The blockade imposed by junta forces on the whole Rakhine State has caused many difficulties for students from Sittwe University to go back to their hometowns.


According to Myanmar Now News, on 24 November, an artillery shell fired by the junta’s navy exploded in Ponnagyun Town, Rakhine State, causing fire and the destruction of shops in Myoma Market.


On 25 November, following the Arakan Army (AA)’s attack onto Border Guard Force Company (4) near Kaing Gyi (Rakhine) Village in Maungdaw Township, Rakhine State, junta forces fired various weaponry from Mawyawadi Strategic Hill. Due to the artillery explosion on a house in Kaing Gyi (Rakhine) Village, a village man Nay Win was instantly killed by artillery shrapnel as he was inside the house.


According to Myanmar Now news, junta started targeting civilian communities in Sittwe, Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships in the wave of attacks after the ethnic Arakan Army launched an anti-junta offensive in the western province.


Irrawaddy News reported that two children were among four civilians killed when junta artillery and drones pounded villages across Rakhine State on 27 and 28 November. According to residents of the Muslim village of Warr Chi Lar in Buthidaung Township, Light Infantry Battalion 565 based in Buthidaung was responsible for the strike which killed two children, both aged 10, and a 60-year-old woman and wounded five other civilians. There were no clashes happening in the area while the attack was launched.


During the night of 27 November, a 16-year-old girl from Pan Phe Tan Village of Mrauk-U Township was killed by a shell fired by Light Infantry Battalion 378 based in Mrauk-U Town. Reportedly, Battalions in Mrauk-U have been shelling ramdomly every evening. On the evening of 27 November, junta troops also used a drone to bomb Taung Kan Village, near a junta checkpoint outside Sittwe town. As a result, four men and two women were seriously injured in the attack. On the same day, in Maungdaw, a 50-year-old man from Aung Thukha Village was injured on his way to a farm when junta personnel from Inn Din village border guard police station fired shots at him.


In the morning of 28 November, a 35-year-old from Pyin Hla Village in Kyauktaw Township was shot by Light Infantry Battalion 376 troops when he was going to his farm. He was reportedly treated for an abdominal wound. According to local media outlets, as of 29 November, at least 30 civilians have been killed and almost 50 wounded by junta shelling and drone attacks since renewed fighting erupted between junta’s troops and the Arakan Army in Rakhine State on 13 November.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire against Civilians in Shan State

 

On 19 November, at approximately 11:30 p.m., junta forces dropped 500-pound bombs within Ta’ang National Liberation Army Brigade 2 in Myo Thit Village, Namhsan Township, Shan State. The resulting shrapnel from the explosion on one of the houses in the village killed a local named Tar Hsann Naw instantaneously.


AAPP reported that on 20 November, around midnight, a camp of the junta forces in Mongngawt Town, Kyaukme Township, and another camp in Namhsan Township, Shan State, indiscriminately fired artillery shells without any clashes taking place. The resultant artillery explosion on a house in Ohn Tsum Village, Namhsan Township, killed 14-year-old Lway Mya Thandar Linn, from shrapnel.


Junta’s Airstrikes and Heavy Artillery Fire against Civilians in Bago Region

 

On 25 November, junta forces carried out an aerial bombing on Yae Twin Kone Village in Phyu Township, Bago Region, which killed two women around the age of 60 and injured many locals.


Extrajudicial Killing of Unarmed Civilians


According to AAPP, on 23 October, Nay Myo Arkar and his wife, Thi Thi Aung, who were walking on the road, were consequently killed by indiscriminate shooting of the junta forces stationed at the Education College on Tharsi Street, Monywa Town, Sagaing Region. Reportedly, junta forces shot indiscriminately after hearing a bomb explosion.


According to news, six locals from two villages in Mandalay Region were killed by junta forces on 17 November. Junta forces reportedly apprehended and killed Min Ngal Tar, Thaung Yin and Phoe Htaw from Kin Village, Madaya Township who fled to Tha Yet Kaing Village to seek refuge, and Tun, Pyone and Mone from Tha Yet Kaing Village, Patheingyi Township in Mandalay Region. On 18 November, their bodies with slash wounds were discovered on the road leading to the Alpha Cement Factory near Tha Yet Kaing Village.

         

Indiscriminate Aerial Bombing on Civilian Areas and Hospitals


News reported that the junta’s air force dropped bombs on civilian areas and hospitals in Demoso Township in Karenni (Kayah) State; Namhkan Town in Shan State; and Indaw Township in Sagaing Region. As a result, many civilians were injured and numerous houses and hospital were destroyed.


Arbitrary Detentions of Innocent Civilians


According to Myanmar Now, on 8 and 9 November, a total of five people were arrested in Mandalay for spreading “fake news”, which says junta is planning to impose a curfew on Mandalay, and for showing support for the junta’s opponents. On 8 November, a 35-year-old man was arrested at his phone shop in Mahaaungmyay Township after reportedly claiming on social media that the rumours of a curfew had been confirmed. At around 11 pm of the same day, another young man in his 20s was seen being forcibly removed from a guest house in Aungmyaythazan Township. On 9 November, local sources said that three others were also taken into custody. Among those three being taken away for posting things about the curfew, one of them, a female betel nut seller, got into trouble for posting a video of herself with an eugenia plant and playing a song called ‘May You Get Success’ on TikTok. The eugenia plant is regarded as a symbol of success in Myanmar, and has been widely used recently to show support for People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups and other junta opponents. The other two arrested on 9 November were Nyein Wai Lu, 25, and Aung San Maw, 30. In addition to monitoring social media and arresting those accused of spreading “fake news” online, junta officials in Mandalay have also reportedly been sending administrative staff to rural areas closer to the conflict zone, warning them through loudspeakers not to believe anything they hear about the fighting.


Raiding “Development Media Group-DMG” Office in Rakhine State

         

According to Myanmar Now News, junta forces raided the Development Media Group (DMG) on 26 October after one of its reporters was arrested in the morning while covering a festival at the city’s Wingbar Stadium. The reporter, Htet Aung, was reportedly forced to reveal the location of DMG’s office, which was still operating despite being blacklisted by the junta along with other Medias. According to the DMG’s editor, around 20 junta personnel, including military intelligence agents, forced their way into the office, seized computers, cameras, and bankbooks, arrested a night security guard and sealed the office. It was reported that the reporters of this Sittwe-based DMG have gone into hiding following the raid. Due to the oppression of the junta, some journalists reportedly have quit and started doing other work, some even left the country.


Bodies of the civilians discovered in Sagaing Region

 

According to news, since mid-October, residents of western Depayin Township, Sagaing Region have repeatedly discovered the bodies of fellow civilians killed and sometimes dismembered by raiding junta forces. During the week of October, four bodies were found in Thein Bar Village, two in Shan Taw Village, and one each in Min Te Kone and Boke Htan Villages. At least five of the victims had been beheaded, including 60-year-old IDP Nyo Win.


It was reported that a column of around 150 troops had been present in Depayin Township from 18 October. They took Nyo Win and his older sister Hla Shin, who have been sheltering in Min Te Kone Village, captive in the forest near the Village. According to a spokesperson for a Depayin-based resistance group, the captors took the 70-year-old Hla Shin’s earrings, and questioned Nyo Win and killed him, then cut his head off and left.


Although it was noted that it had only been possible to determine identities of the five victims, all of them were known to be civilians. The four bodies found in Thein Bar have yet to be identified because they were found with their heads, hands and feet removed. Though the junta column has left the area, some villagers have stayed in hiding out of fear, and it has been impossible to identify all the victims without more information from fellow villagers.

         

Targeting and attacking school and hospital in Taze Township, Sagaing Region


The military's actions in Taze Township, Sagaing Region, starkly illustrate the blatant disregard for international law. According to Irrawaddy News Media, locals said that a Myanmar military fighter jet targeted a school and hospital in Ywar Shae Village of Taze Township around 0138 am on 29 November, destroying school buildings and houses. The school and hospital were reportedly attacked twice by the warplane. It was also reported that the attacks occurred just hours after pro-junta Telegram channels urged junta forces to bomb Ywar Shae and neighboring Mae Zali Kone, alleging that the villages were harboring injured resistance fighters. According to local People’s Defense Comrades, there were no ongoing clashes in the village, and no civilian casualties were reported in the attack as villagers had fled when they heard the warplane approaching. The second bomb narrowly missed the hospital but destroyed three houses nearby, he added.


Raids, Arson, Torture, and Murder by the junta


Starting from 18 October 2023, the junta soldiers carried out raids in western Depayin Township, Sagaing Region for more than 10 days. In Wa Bar village, they burned down seven houses and four food storehouses, destroying over 800 sacks of rice and nearly 1,000 viss (1,680 kg) of oil. During their raids on the villages, in addition to killing villagers, junta soldiers kidnapped twenty-one civilians and have not yet released them at the time of reporting.


According to AAPP, around 3 a.m. of 3 November, the junta forces raided and set fire to Si Laung Village in Myaing Township, Magway Region. During the attack, villager Ms. Tin Kyi was set on fire alive along with her house.


On 7 November, clashes broke out between junta forces and a coalition of PDFs near Pyar Village in Myingyan Township, Mandalay Region. Subsequently, junta forces raided and opened fire in Pyar Village, resulting in the death of Shoon Lei Cho, a three-year-old girl from gunshot wounds.


Villagers being taken as human shields


On 17 November, junta forces launched an offensive into Tha Yet Kaing Village in Madaya Township, Mandalay Region, and apprehended six locals and killed them afterwards.


Myanmar military using foreigners including Thais as human shields


According to news from Thai PBS World on 3 November 2023, Myanmar’s military junta has used foreigners including Thais as human shields in northeastern Shan State, where fighting the junta and an ethnic alliance is escalating. Instead of sending them back to their respective countries, the junta’s anti- human trafficking unit sent them to military camps, the online quoted a humanitarian worker as saying. Apart from Thais, other foreign nationals from Nepal, Ethiopia and Laos were among them. “The army is using them as forced labor to build bunkers, dig trenches, and carry timber. They are practically human shields.” The foreigners are being held in front- line outposts in Laukkai town where their lives are at risk from fighting that could erupt at any time. They could possibly be caught in the crossfire, the Irrawaddy online reported.

         

Use of force to crackdown peaceful protests


Since the military coup to this day, the junta has been using excessive force to carry out crackdowns on peaceful protests. On 25 November, an anti-junta protest took place at a market in No. 40 Ward, Dagon Myothit (North) Township, Yangon Region. A large number of junta forces arrived at the market and destroyed the market in the evening of 25 November and the morning of 26 November.

         

Sentencing the anti-military activists


On 15 November, labor leader Thet Hnin Aung was sentenced to serve another 7 years in prison with hard labor. He was charged by Dagon Myothit (South) Township Court under Section 52 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law. He was arrested by junta forces in June 2021 and in December 2022, he was sentenced to serve two years in prison under Section 17 (1) of the Unlawful Associations Act. News reported that although he was released after serving his time in prison in June 2023, he was rearrested by the junta forces and resentenced.

         

Restriction on right to communication

         

According to Irrawaddy News, the junta announced that anyone using unlicensed satellite devices and other internet services will be prosecuted under the Telecommunication Law. The Junta’s communications ministry said on 23 November 2023 that anyone setting up, operating, possessing and using unlicensed satellite, radar and radio communications equipment can be jailed for up to a year under Article 67 of the law. News reported that while the junta has slowed or blocked mobile access in parts of Sagaing and Magwe regions and Kachin, Chin and Karenni State since the 2021 coup, starting from June 2023, internet access has been available in parts of Karenni State using Starlink, a known satellite firm.


Freedom of expression and access to information is guaranteed as fundamental rights under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Activities of the National Unity Government


On 1 November 2023, the NUG issued a news release regarding the visit of Myanmar delegation led by H.E. U Aung Myo Min, Union Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights, to Canada and their meeting with representatives from Canada government. The Myanmar delegation met with Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. David Morrison on 30 October and with Assistant Minister of Global Affairs, Canada on 27 October. It stated that during those meetings, discussions in relation to current situations in Myanmar, implementation of ASEAN Five Points Consensus, to impose more effective sanctions against the terrorist State Administrative Council. Also discussed were issues related to take actions against the military junta for the human rights violations, war crimes and violations of international crimes, to bring justice for Myanmar civilians whose rights were being violated, practical assistance which can protect from all types of atrocities including airstrikes, etc. 


On 5 November 2023, the NUG issued a news release regarding the visit of Myanmar delegation led by H.E. U Aung Myo Min, Union Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights, to Canada. Union Minister H.E. U Aung Myo Min, together with Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights H.E. U Aung Kyaw Moe, Advisor and Spokesperson of the President Office U Kyaw Zaw have met with the Parliamentarians and representatives from parliamentarian institutions on situation in Myanmar. The Myanmar delegation also met with Chairperson and CEO of the Parliamentary Centre Tom Cromier, Director of Asia and Europe Ivo Balinov, Joint Chairmen of Parliamentary Friends of a Democratic Burma – PFODB : MP Adam Chambers and MP Garnett Genuis, and other parliamentarians from PFODB. During those meetings, discussions related to activities of PFODB to support the NUG, effective and practical support for the NUG and Spring Revolution of Myanmar, to hold junta accountable for its terrorist atrocities, killings and arrests including the Rohingyas were made. Both sides also discussed on the legal protection for the civilians, Canada’s support on the local governance, humanitarian assistance, NUG and spring revolution. Myanmar delegation also met with MPs: Adam Chambers, Garnett Genuis, Stephanie Kusie, Dave Epp, Shuvaloy Majumdar, Ziad Aboultaif; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion & Persons with Disabilities and MP Sameer Zuberi; MP Marilou McPhedran, and MP Kate Pateon.


On 6 November 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) published its activities in its Weekly Press Update 44/2023. The Update included the activities of the National Unity Government such as the remarks by Acting President Duwa Lashi La that the people of Myanmar stand with the Three Brotherhood Alliance, the NUG repudiates NCA; political and peace processes must be based on the Federal Democracy Charter, NUG’s Prime Minister emphasizing importance of coordinated and timely military operations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcoming new sanctions imposed by the United Nations, Canada and the United Kingdom, Permanent Representative U Kyaw Moe Tun delivering statements at the 78th UNGA and the UN Security Council Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security and summary of the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners’ (AAPP) statement on the current situation.


On 8 November 2023, the NUG published a news release regarding the visit of Myanmar delegation led by H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs to Lithuania. During the visit, on 8 November, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung and the representatives of the Ethnic Partner Groups have met with Parliamentarians of Lithuania and discussed matters among others increase cooperation of bilateral democratic issues, effectively pressuring the terrorist SAC group.


On 8 November 2023, the NUG held coordination meeting with Interim Chin National Consultative Council-ICNCC to prepare necessary steps to reduce civilian injuries and support humanitarian assistance and to cooperate with the relevant ministries. During the meeting, discussions including matters to provide temporary shelters for the IDPs in Chin State, status of required medicines, clean water and rations, awareness raising activities for prevention of aerial attacks and the evacuation to emergency shelters, publish the list of dos and don’ts during the armed conflicts into Chin Language, etc. were made.


On 11 November 2023, the National Unity Government released a press statement (11/2023) titled “Appeal to the Public and Local and International Organizations”. The statement said that the momentum of the People’s Spring Revolution has surged even further since late October. The strategic counter-offensive attacks have resulted in the takeover of camps and towns in federal states and in regions where interim local people’s administration are being established. Operation 1027, spearheaded by the Three Brotherhood Alliances, is making a significant progress in Northern Shan State. The upcoming strategic battles across the nation are expected to be extensive, making the reduction of civilian casualties and the provision of humanitarian assistance for those affected by military conflicts the top national priorities. The National Unity Government, in collaboration with federal units, ethnic alliances, and local civil society organizations, is actively engaging with the public to protect and safeguard civilians. To address the crisis, the Emergency Operation Coordinating Committee (EOCC), a joint initiative involving National Unity Government ministries, federal units, consultative councils, and ethnic alliances, is implementing measures to mitigate injuries and damages to civilians as offensive military attacks approach urban cities. It stressed that the EOCC will collaborate with working task groups to execute the policies and procedures outlined by the Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Response Commission. The NUG appeals to local and international private donors, international governmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations, and civil society organizations to mobilize funds which are crucial for delivering urgently needed emergency humanitarian assistance, emergency communications, health services, emergency supplies, and facilitating the rehabilitation process.


On 13 November 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) published its activities in its Weekly Press Update 45/2023. The Update included the activities of the National Unity Government such as the Acting President’s Office Spokesperson outlining efforts to restore the rights of oppressed ethnic groups and root out the dictatorship, Permanent Representative U Kyaw Moe Tun delivering a statement on the Report of the International Court of Justice at the Plenary Meeting of 78th UNGA and, NUG continuing awareness raising on civilian injuries reduction and preventive measures. It also mentioned 68 cases of arson committed by the Myanmar military in one month.


On 13 November 2023, the NUG posted a news release 07/2023 informing that Myanmar delegation led by H.E. U Aung Myo Min, Union Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights visited Canada from 28 October to 11 November 2023 and during this visit, the delegation has met with Myanmar communities in Canada including Rohingyas, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Rakhine, and other Canadian friends. During this period, the meetings were held in six cities including Ottawa.


On 17 November 2023, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs and the Ministry of Human Rights issued Joint Statement No. 1/2023 regarding the terrorist military junta's airstrike attack in Vuilu Village, Matupi Township. In the statement, the NUG stated that the airstrike launched by the Myanmar military on Vuilu village, Matupi Township, Chin State on the evening of 15 November 2023 was not in response to any military action on the part of resistance forces as the area has had military activity. The statement informed that one fighter jet dropped a large cluster bomb while another fired rockets which killed eleven people eight of whom were children and seriously injured four others including a five-year-old child. The statement underlined that Vuilu Village is a small village of about 80 houses where most residents are from the Dai ethnic group, which is an area where there have been no clashes between local defense forces and the Myanmar military. The statement stressed that the Myanmar military intentionally attacked a civilian settlement and this atrocity constitutes a crime against humanity and a war crime. The statement further informed that the National Unity Government's Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs and the Ministry of Human Rights strongly condemn this war crime and crime against humanity committed by the Myanmar military junta and are committed to bring justice to the people of Myanmar.


On 18 November 2023, the National Unity Government and the Interim Executive Council of Karenni State jointly issued a joint statement regarding the safe evacuation of UN and INGO staff and family members in Loikaw, Karenni State. It stated that the operation commanders of the Karenni Revolutionary Forces, the Karenni State Interim Executive Council (IEC) and the National Unity Government (NUG) coordinated and paused the offensive attacks in the Karenni frontline areas in order to safely evacuate 228 employees and family members of United Nations organizations (UN) and non-governmental international organizations (INGOs) based in Loikaw, Karenni State (Kayah State). It also informed that due to such arrangements, the convoy of 33 vehicles carrying the above UN and INGO staff and family members were able to leave Loikaw and move safely to Taunggyi. It further mentioned that while UN and INGO staff and family members were able to leave safely, many people remained trapped inside Loikaw and are still in the dangerous zone. In addition, basic food, medicine and shelter are urgently needed for more than 35,000 displaced people. It also informed that for those urgent needs, INGOs, including the UN, need to implement cross-border aid programs. It underlined that the terrorist Myanmar military council needs to allow the safe passage of civilians trapped in Loikaw. In the statement, the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Interim Executive Council (IEC) of Karenni State express their special gratitude to the Karenni Allied Revolutionary Forces and all civil society organizations who helped on the ground.


On 20 November 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) published its activities in its Weekly Press Update 46/2023. The Update included the activities of the National Unity Government such as the NUG and the Karenni State Interim Executive Council successfully evacuating UN staff, NUG’s Acting President calling for Myanmar Military soldiers and police to lay down arms, Interim University Council issuing 2023/24 Admissions Guide, MOHAI announcing that residents can safely return to Kawlin, and news about attacks and airstrikes by junta military.


On 21 November 2023, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the NUG met with Mr. Nakagawa Masaharu, Member of the House of Representative and President of the Japan Parliamentary Group Supporting Democratization in Myanmar in the latter’s office. During the meeting, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung thanked Mr. Nakagawa Masaharu for his consistent support to Myanmar’s democratic transition and requested to render his continuous support in building the federal democratic union.

         

On 22 November 2023, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the NUG held a meeting with Mr. Katahiro Yasukochi, Chairman of the Japanese Association of Metal, Machinery, and Manufacturing Workers (JAM). During the meeting, the Union Minister encouraged Mr. Katahiro Yasukochi to recognize the NUG as the legitimate government and cooperate with the NUG in handling the Myanmar workers’ affairs.


On 25 November 2023, the NUG’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a Statement (22/ 2023) on the News Release of Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry regarding the Engagement of the Office of the Special Envoy with Myanmar Stakeholders. In the statement, it informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia released news on the engagement of the Office of Special Envoy with stakeholders of Myanmar, led by the government of Indonesia, which took place from 20 to 22 November in Jakarta, Indonesia. It stated that as the international community including the United Nations supports the ASEAN’s intervention in addressing the Myanmar crisis, the National Unity Government has been engaging only with the ASEAN at the “Separate Meeting conducted based on Groupings” of the ASEAN. Reiterating the purpose of those engagements, the NUG clarified that there has been no engagement whatsoever with any individual, including so-called representatives of the illegitimate military junta, neither at any place nor at any point in time. It further explained that the National Unity Government acknowledges and comprehends that ASEAN, through the Office of Special Envoy, has been making consistent efforts to implement the Five-Point Consensus. It recalled that upon every encouragement from ASEAN for engagement, the National Unity Government unequivocally responds, stating, "Without the assurance of ending the military dictatorship and establishing a federal democratic union, without the genuine will of the people, spring forces and alliances, and without a guarantee of a transitional period where justice is fully upheld, there will be no engagement." It emphasized that the comment stated in the Press Release of Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry regarding the possibility of a dialogue solely reflects the view of the Office of Special Envoy and was unrelated to the National Unity Government.


During the month of November, the Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the UN, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun delivered statements at the Committees’ meetings and the plenary meetings of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York. Ambassador delivered a statement at the General Discussion on the Report of the Human Rights Council at the Third Committee of the 78th session of the UNGA, held on 1 November 2023. On 7 November 2023, a statement was delivered under the Agenda Item 73: Report of the International Court of Justice at the Plenary Meeting of the Seventy-Eighth session of UN General Assembly. On 8 November 2023, a statement was delivered under the Agenda Item 89: Report of the International Atomic Energy Agency at the Plenary Meeting of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly. On 15 November 2023, during the consideration of the draft resolution A/C.3/78/L.40/Rev.1 “Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar” at the Third Committee of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Permanent Representative delivered a statement representing Myanmar. He also delivered a statement at the Second Meeting of States Parties to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, held on 29 November 2023.


International Community Actions and Remarks in Response to the Military Coup

 

At the United Nations daily press briefing on 6 November 2023, Mr. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that the UN was alarmed by the heavy fighting, particularly in Shan State in the northern part of the country, with reports of artillery shelling and airstrikes that led to civilian casualties and tens of thousands being newly displaced internally, and hundreds across the border. He informed that the Secretary-General condemns all forms of violence and reaffirms that civilians should be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law. In line with Security Council Resolution 2669, the SG urges restraint and de-escalation of tensions, including in the interest of regional stability. He added that according to the UN humanitarian staff, since 26 October nearly 33,000 men, women and children have been displaced. This is causing humanitarian needs to surge. He underlined that the unimpeded humanitarian access and the elimination of red tape are necessary so that life-saving aid and services can reach people in need. He stressed that the UN urged all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law, safeguarding the lives and well-being of civilians and the aid workers trying to assist those civilians. While pointing out that, across Myanmar, 2 million people are now internally displaced, with many of them having been uprooted a number of times, he reminded that the Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar is just 28 percent funded, with only two months left in the year.


On 3 November 2023, under the category “Peace and Security”, UN Geneva published a news titled “Sharp uptick in fighting in Myanmar, UN humanitarians report”. In the news, it reported Myanmar witnessed a sharp escalation in fighting between the military and opposition groups that week fueling a surge in new displacements. It mentioned that thirteen civilians, including children, lost their lives in the fighting in various locations, and a further two died after they were unable to access emergency medical services, according to the flash update. Several people are reported to have been injured. It stated that according to the UN OCHA, clashes intensified on 29 October and continued through the week, significantly impacting northeast and southeast Myanmar and forcing over 48,000 people from their homes, amid rising needs. Almost all of the people newly displaced since 27 October are seeking refuge in religious compounds and few are known to have entered pre- existing IDP sites. OCHA underscored the need for secure and unimpeded humanitarian access to deliver timely assistance. It added that disrupted telecommunications, particularly in northern Shan, is hindering relief work. It also said that ongoing hostilities, coupled with the existence of checkpoints, road closures, and structural damage to bridges, are severely restricting the ability of humanitarian agencies to reach affected people, conduct verification of needs, and transport vital supplies. It informed the remarks by the Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, which stated the human rights crisis in the country is bad and is getting exponentially worse.  


At the United Nations daily press briefing on 10 November 2023, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said that intense fighting in northern Shan providence continues and has now extended to the north-west of the country. He explained that within two weeks, some 90,000 people have been displaced in northern Shan and the region of Sagaing. He informed that essential routes within northern Shan continue to be obstructed by checkpoints operated by both sides. Phone and internet services remain limited outside Lashio Township, and the main airport has been closed since the escalation of the fighting. Provision of life-saving assistance to affected civilians, including cash, food and essential relief items, continues wherever possible. The UN estimated that one-third of people in need have been reached with some form of assistance so far. $1 million from the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Fund will be disbursed to respond to emerging needs in northern Shan providence. He stressed that this support, however, is insufficient to meet the surge in needs since the Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar is currently just 28 per cent funded. He stated that nationwide, more than 2 million people are now internally displaced and remain in urgent need of adequate shelter, food, basic services for their survival and protection. Local and international humanitarian partners remain committed to staying and delivering despite underfunding and heavy access constraints. The humanitarian community in Myanmar urges all parties to the conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law, safeguarding the lives and well- being of civilians and of course the aid workers who are trying to assist the civilians.


At the United Nations daily press briefing on 15 November 2023, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said that intense fighting between ethnic armed organizations and the Myanmar Armed Forces has now expanded to the country’s northwest, southeast and Rakhine state. He said that as of 14 November, more than 200,000 people across these areas and regions have been forcibly displaced due to fighting and aerial bombardments. Many have also moved towards the border with China in northern Shan province. He added that across Myanmar, more than two million people are now internally displaced and are in need of shelter, food and basic services. He stressed that the blockage of transport routes, disruption in telecommunication services, the closure of key airports and the recent imposition of martial law in multiple states is hindering access for humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers. He underlined that despite those challenges, the United Nations, along with its partners, continue to provide lifesaving assistance to civilians in northern Shan, including cash, food and other items. In the Northwest, Southeast and Rakhine, the United Nations continues assessing the growing needs and preparing to respond accordingly.


On 15 November, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom filed a joint declaration of intervention in the case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. In these proceedings, The Gambia alleges violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention). Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are exercising the right to intervene in this case under Article 63(2) of the Statute of the Court in order to set out their interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Genocide Convention before the Court. They recall that the Genocide Convention requires States Parties to prevent the crime of genocide and hold those responsible to account.


The Republic of Maldives has filed a declaration to intervene in the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the alleged genocide committed against the Rohingyas in Myanmar. The case was brought by The Gambia against Myanmar, alleging that acts committed by Myanmar’s military and security forces against members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar’s Rakhine State from 2016 onwards constitute genocide, in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives announced the Maldives’ decision to seek to intervene in the case on 25 February 2020, shortly after the proceedings were launched, becoming the first state and currently the only state from the Global South to do so. The Maldives’ declaration focuses on the construction of the duty to punish genocide under the Genocide Convention.


On 19 November 2023, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos said that the conflict in Myanmar has been a difficult issue for the Southeast Asian bloc ASEAN to address, with little progress made towards a resolution and intensifying fighting. Reuters reported that speaking at a forum in Hawaii streamed live in the Philippines on 19 November, Marcos said there was a commitment from ASEAN, but the issue was complex, including the humanitarian impact. "There is a great deal of impetus for ASEAN to solve this problem. But it is a very, very difficult problem," Marcos said. Marcos, citing analyses of the recent escalation, said the junta had already lost support from its own military. He said the humanitarian cost of conflict had "grown exponentially" in recent years, with the Philippines also impacted with its citizens among victims of human trafficking there.



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Date: 30 November 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York

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