Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (06-08-2023)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
More than 30 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 with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 4 August 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 3,888 people, arrested 24,212 people, and 19,729 people remain in detention, whereas 158 people have been sentenced to death, including 115post-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 extended again 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
Shelling and killing a civilian in Kutkai Township
According to the reliable sources, the junta forces conducted indiscriminate shelling in Loi Kon Village in Kutkai Township in the northern Shan State on 26 July 2023. The shelling by the junta forces hit three houses in the village, and killed a 60-year-old woman. The daughter and 16-year-old granddaughter of the victim were injured. The source said that the injured ones were sent to Kutkai hospital.
Killing a civilian in Tamu District
AAPP reported that on 28 July 2023, the junta forces entered Khampat Town in Tamu District of Sagaing Region und engaged in clashes with local defence forces. During the fighting, two brothers who were happened to be the area nearby tried to flee on a mortorbike, and the junta forces shot at them. One of them died.
Arresting and Killing civilians in Budalin Township
According to AAPP, the junta forces raided the Students’ Union Office of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions in Nyaung Kan Village in Budalin Township of Sagaing Region on 28 July 2023. It was reported that the junta forces arrested and killed three civilians, including Kyaw Win Thant (Chairman), Kyalsin Nyein Chan (Vice Chairman), and Thuta Nay (the one in charge of the News and Information of the Union).
Brutally murdering a civilian in Pale Township
News reported that in the early morning of 1 August 2023, the junta group of 80 soldiers and members of its affiliate Pyu Saw Htee militia raided Ta Nei Village in Pale Township of Sagaing Region. The junta troops arrested the leader of the People’s Defense Team of Ta Nei Village named Swe Thein (60), when he was trying to being food to the local resistance fighters.
It was reported that the arrested leader Swe Thein was brutally murdered by the junta troops. The residents of Ta Nei Village and the local defence member found his death body on the west side of the village in the evening of 3 August 2023, when the junta troops left the village. It was said that the body of the victim was found with his throat that has been cut, as well as with multiple head injuries, the knife wound on his throat, and without gunshot wounds.
Conducting Airstrikes in eastern Kayah State
According to the local sources, the junta forces conducted airstrikes in eastern Karenni (Kayah) State on 5 August 2023, as they were trying to seize Mase Town near the border with Thailand.
The source said that intense fighting has been broke out in the township of Mase and Hpaswang since July 2023, and the junta has sent heavy reinforcements to Karenni (Kayah) State in their attempt to regain the lost territory, as Mase Town was seized by the allied resistance forces, which the Karenni National People’s Liberation Front has been part of since June 2023.
Torching the houses in Than Taung Gyi Township
Mizzima News reported that since 5 August 2023, the junta troops entered the Than Taung Town in Than Taung Gyi Township of Kayin State and burned down the houses in the town. The junta troops fired and set fire to the houses in the area, where there have been no clashes. Three houses located along the highway and around eight houses in the town have been destroyed during three days.
Displacement in South-East of Myanmar
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) released a displacement overview on 3 August 2023, stating that in the South-East of Myanmar, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has crossed the half a million mark, rising from 495,100 to 501,900 at the time of releasing the report. The overview highlighted the displacement situations as of 31 July 2023, particularly in Bago Region (East), Kayin State, Kayah State, Shan State (South), Tanintharyi Region and Mon State.
In Bago Region (East), 3,300 people from Phyu Township were displaced within the township due to intensified fighting near their villages. In Myawaddy Township of Kayin State, increased fighting displaced 430 people were displaced to Myawaddy town due to increased fighting.
In Kayah State, 750 people from Loikaw township were displaced within the township due to fighting and shelling in their villages. 210 IDPs returned to their place of origin in Demoso Township. In Shan State (South), 110 people from Loikaw Township, Kayah State were displaced to Hsihseng Township due to fighting and shelling around their villages.
In Tanintharyi Region, 3,200 people from five villages in Launglon Township fled to seek safety elsewhere within the township due to increased fighting and security concerns. 4,800 IDPs returned to their places of origin in Dawei Township and Thayetchaung Township between 7 and 10 July. In Mon State, fighting and indiscriminate shelling displaced about 4,000 people from six villages in Billin Township within the township.
Across the border, 9,000 people from Myanmar remain displaced in Mae Hong Son Province of Thailand.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 3 August 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the UN Security Council High-Level Open Debate on Famine and Conflict-Induced Global Food Insecurity. The Permanent Representative said that a decade of democratic reforms and hard-worn momentum to reduce poverty in Myanmar has been eliminated by the illegitimate military junta following the illegal coup, and the junta’s systematic destruction of the rule of law and their atrocities against the people of Myanmar have created a multi-faceted crisis with regional implications. The Permanent Representative stressed that a decisive action from the UN Security Council will help the steadfast efforts of the Myanmar people for restoration of democracy and peace and stability in Myanmar. He urged the Security Council to follow up with enforcement actions to its repeated demands for ending violence and unhindered humanitarian access in Myanmar.
On 4 August 2023, the Ministry of Justice of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued Public Release, stating that the Ministry has been able to successfully carry out Rule of Law activities to some extent during the interim period and in addition to that, had numerous initiatives in the pipeline that will further expand. It was said that the Ministry, along with its partners, has provided multiple training sessions for judges and law officer who are serving in the respective areas, and is working towards delivering prosecution training courses for law officers, orientation training and refresher training courses to enhance the capacity of judges and law officers, as well as legal training courses for military officers and administration officers, in the near future. The Public Release underlined that the structure and procedures of courts that are now operating in accordance with the situations on the ground during the interim period are one of the initial steps towards courts that will be established in the future Federal Union.
On 6 August 2023, the National Unity Consultative Council and the National Unity Government issued a joint statement of the common position of revolutionary organizations fighting together in the spring revolution. The statement is attached herewith. In order to end all dictatorship, including military dictatorship, and build a federal democratic union in line with the Union Vision, Union Values, Guiding Principles, Foundational Policies, and the Road Map laid out in Part I of the Federal Democratic Charter, the NUCC and NUG declared the following political goals and positions:
(1) To determine that the ultimate goal of Myanmar’s Spring Revolution is for the complete and rigorous implementation of federal democratic practices towards the establishment of a new federal democratic union in not only form, but also substance (System Change).
(2) This current illegal military seizure of power must be permanently removed, along with which must be permanently ended the custom of military coups and the involvement of the military in politics.
(3) In the future federal democratic union, to establish a “Federal Union Army” drawn from different ethnic nationalities, solely to bear the responsibility of defense against external threats, and unconditionally and without exception under the control of a civilian government.
(4) To mandate and implement transitional justice mechanisms to address human rights violations, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other crimes committed not only since the conflicts caused by the illegal military coup, but for generations upon all classes and ethnic nationalities, in order to ensure that the truth is upheld of all such crimes, that there is responsibility and accountability, that justice is received, and to prevent further such violations.
(5) To categorically reject any and all political moves that should deviate from the vision and values for a new era and a new system.
(6) To continue in the march and fight without turning back or wavering, hand-in-hand with the people of all ethnic groups across the country.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 1 August 2023, the Department Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State Matthew Miller said that the events in Myanmar does not change the position of the U.S. and the U.S. remains deeply concerned by the military’s extension of the state of emergency in Myanmar. The Spokesperson added that the U.S. has repeatedly called on the military to immediately release the President and the State Counsellor of Myanmar, and all the others unjustly detained, and continues to urge the military to ends it violence, to allow unhindered humanitarian access, seek justice for survivors, and engage with all stakeholders to pursue a peaceful, just, and democratic future for Myanmar.
The Embassy of Canada to Myanmar issued the statement on 1 August 2023. It was said that Canada is deeply concerned over the junta’s extension of the State of the Emergency, and corresponding martial law at township-levels, prolonging the regime’s illegitimate rule over Myanmar. Canada continues to unequivocally condemn the coup against the democratically elected government and supports the people and their democratic aspirations in the face of brutality and egregious international human rights and humanitarian law violations. Canada calls on all members of the international community to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account; to cease the sale and transfer of arms and equipment which facilitate atrocities; and to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Myanmar’s people, as well as continues to support ASEAN’s leadership in addressing the crisis in Myanmar.
On 3 August 2023, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland designated six individuals and one entity under its sanctions on Myanmar, following the same designations made by the European Union on July 2023. The lists included six individuals namely Thet Khaing Win (Minister for Health and Sport of SAC), Aung Kyaw Min (a member of the State Administration Council – SAC), Kyaw Swar Lin (Lieutenant General), Myint Khaing (Minister for Immigration and Population of SAC), Porel Aung Thein (a member of the State Administration Council – SAC), Pwint San (Minister of Labour of SAC), and one entity – No 2 Mining Enterprise (ME 2).
On 4 August 2023, regarding the transactions with Sanctioned Banks in Myanmar – Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB), the Department Spokesperson of the U.S. Department of State Matthew Miller said that the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued General License 5 (GL 5) to allow entities engaging in transactions with MFTB and MICB to wind these down in an orderly fashion at the time of the designation of these two banks. It was said that following the expiration of GL 5 on August 5 at 12:01 a.m. (EST), the United States will continue to carefully monitor compliance and scrutinize transactions with an MFTB or MICB nexus to counter evasion or other behavior. The Department Spokesperson added that the U.S. will not waver in its support for the Myanmar people as they seek peace, justice, and an inclusive, democratic future for their country, and will continue to engage with the partners and allies in the broader international community to constrain the junta’s ability to exploit the international financial system.
According to the GIEWS Update issued by Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the current food insecurity situation in Myanmar is critical due to reduced agricultural production in 2022, intensified conflict, record high food prices and the devastating effects of Cyclone Mocha. It was said that the conflict triggered record-high civilian displacements, which currently estimated at 1.83 million people, a three-fold increase compared to the same period in 2022. According the FAO, Food insecurity could worsen if constrained access to fertilizer and intensified conflict persist, and if the forecast of below-average monsoon precipitation is realized, thus reducing cereal production in 2023.
Date: 6 August 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York