Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Within six months after the Myanmar military junta staged an illegal coup, more than 900 civilians have been innocently killed, and the country's economic sector has collapsed. According to the World Bank’s report issued in July this year, it forecasted that the economy of Myanmar would shrink 18 percent in the fiscal year 2021, and half a million of the population will undergo joblessness. In addition, the health sector, which is designed to save the precious lives of Myanmar people, is destroyed by the mismanagement and inability of the terrorist junta, which only aims at holding onto its power through various injustice means. And by neglecting all its failures and atrocities, the military even shamelessly announced the formation of a caretaker government on the first day of August and took the role of a Prime Minister unconstitutionally.
Deaths and Arbitrary Arrests
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 940 people have been killed as of 31 July 2021. The grand total of people being detained has increased to 5,444, whereas 255 of them are sentenced to prison. Among the people sentenced to prison, 26 are under the death sentence, including 2 children. Meanwhile, 1,964 are evading arrest warrants, 118 people are convicted in absentia, while 39 amongst them are sentenced to death in absentia. Likewise, over 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. In Kani Township of the Sagaing Region alone, the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) has reached 4,000. Therefore, 182 days may have passed, but the terrorist junta which continues to commit vicious acts has never stopped its serious atrocities amounting to crimes against humanity. As with the surge of COVID-19 outbreak being hardly controllable, the murderous junta’s acts of inhumanity have particularly exposed in the public health sector.
Rapid and vast spread of life taking COVID-19
Third wave of Coronavirus Disease, which comes with several variants, is causing serious suffering to the people in Myanmar without any discrimination. Myanmar people, whether young or old, men or women, wealthy or poor, educated or uneducated, healthy or unhealthy, are all equally vulnerable from the risk of COVID-19 now. While the rest of the world nations are beginning to refresh towards normalcy, Myanmar is under threat of the deadly disease, which has already taken away the lives of more than 8,900. According to the World Health Organizations’ Health Emergency Dashboard in Myanmar, there are 24,935 confirmed cases and 1,831 deaths as of 26 July.
Myanmar could have successfully combated against COVID-19 if it was governed under the elected civilian government. The previous civilian government, elected for another five-year term, has established a well-organized mechanism to tackle and combat COVID-19 with domestic and international cooperation and support. But because the terrorist junta that unlawfully seized the state power highly lacks the ability to handle the current severe health emergency requiring timely and effective healthcare assistance, innocent Myanmar people are physically and mentally suffering from the pandemic unnecessarily. Since the resurgence of the COVID-19 new variant, people in Myanmar are busy and stressed finding much-need medicines, oxygen supplies, doctors and nurses, bed space in hospitals, and so on. However, hospitals are running at max capacity and are refusing to accept the majority of the new patients. Therefore, people are passing every day by reeling in pain as their beloved ones, some even the entire family, lost their lives under helplessness. People believe that the military is deliberately using Covid-19 as a biological weapon to hurt the population.
And instead of taking essential and effective measures to combat the deadly disease, the military junta instead extended unlawful persecution of healthcare professionals, attacked clinics, and deterred live-saving activities from operating. On 31 July, police officers dispersed the group of people lining up for Enoxaparin Sodium injection in front of a pharmacy in South-Okkalapa Township since early morning. Without appropriately letting people get their healthcare rights, the police forces asked the pharmacy to close by force and scattered the people by the so-called “command of the high-level authorities.”
It is crystal clear to this day that the SAC does not have a sincere willingness to help and save the lives of its people. By examining it, it is clear that the junta's actions in preventing all sources of healthcare services from being delivered to people by volunteer social welfare groups, blocking supplies of medicines and oxygen, and cracking down on medics and CDM healthcare workers who are providing treatments to patients with their consent demonstrated the junta's evilness.
Another facet that visibly proved the ruthless attitude of the military is in installing 10 new cremation facilities that could serve up to 3,000 people simultaneously. While there are various measures which it can take to control the worsening health emergency, the so-called State Administration Council, composed of pro-junta military personnel, recklessly decided to expand the cremation facility. Here, the chances are that the military junta intentionally sends the message to the people of Myanmar that they are willing to let people die other than saving them. In other words, the junta’s decision comes after corpses were piling up in cemeteries within this month. So, to cover up news that portrays their incapability, the junta chose to expand the cremation facility among other viable options that would benefit the people.
Attacks on Medical Professionals and Facilities
In Myanmar, people are upholding the spirit of people for the people. Although they noticed and acknowledge that NUG has been putting its utmost emphasis on tackling the pandemic in Myanmar, they are also aware of the inhumane military junta’s various interference and disruption on all these endeavors. To mention some of the malicious activities of the junta, they include a widespread campaign to monopolize the supply of oxygen, restricting oxygen cylinders, and attacks on doctors and other medical personnel. On 28 July, the military junta took over the private oxygen plants and banned aid groups or individuals to access oxygen. They also acquire COVID-19 patients to present recommendation letters issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) offices for oxygen access. Besides such measures, the junta has seized numerous oxygen cylinders since the early days of July.
In addition, the terrorist military has been arresting CDM doctors in Yangon and Mandalay. Most brutally, the junta released names of CDM health workers for every township in Kayin State and sent them to the GAD offices aiming to arrest them. Since the coup, the military has attacked medical workers 260 times, according to the WHO's Surveillance System of Attacks on Healthcare. Similarly, the AAPP reported 67 medical professionals and 221 medical students arrested, while the brutal junta in Myanmar has already killed seven medics.
Challenges added by the natural disaster
Monsoon rain in Myanmar had devastated several regions of Myanmar by causing serious floods. Of all the areas facing such natural disaster-driven dangers, Mon and Karen are the most affected regions, which now require immense humanitarian relief measures. More than 3,000 people in these two areas have been displaced due to the severe floods to elaborate in number. Despite these difficulties, local people in the respective regions have managed to evacuate victims to nearby monasteries to seek temporary shelter and safety. People living in the hit-hard areas are now ought to commute using boats. The majority of the residents could no longer stay in their houses as the water level has already covered half of the two-storied homes and reached almost the tip of their one-story homes.
Continuous crimes committed by the junta
Since the military seized power illegitimately on 1 February, security forces that work for the murderous military have carried out various targeted attacks on innocent civilians. By the time when the international community fails to provide adequate protection to the people of Myanmar at a time they needed assistance the most, local civilians had no other choice but to establish resistance forces that would ensure and protect the lives, properties, and livelihoods of the people. While these forces learned military tactics to defend the people and resist the junta’s security forces regardless of the unmatched arms and human resources, the junta's security forces continue to attack and suppress the PDFs stationing in different areas.
During the clashes between the two parties, the SAC’s security forces frequently take advantage of their arms power to attack, torture, and kill the PDFs brutally. In addition to the SAC’s security forces, a militia group called “Pyu Saw Htee” also exists nationwide to attack the people and people’s resistance forces on behalf of the military. Of all the areas, Mandalay and Sagaing regions were significantly targeted by the military and its militia group. Recently on 30 July, the “Pyu Saw Htee” group in Mingin Township, Sagaing Region, reportedly fired heavy weaponry, including RPG, and injured few resistance forces.
Apart from these atrocities, the SAC’s security forces, both soldiers and police officers, have been practicing a tradition of returning dead bodies to the respective family members after the fights or detentions since the early days of the illegal coup. Nowadays, some bodies are not returned to their families, so the deceased's families must arrange funerals without the bodies.
Moreover, Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM)’s report indicates that the coup has likely committed crimes against humanity, including murder, persecution, imprisonment, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, and torture. To emphasize, the junta's atrocities have amounted to the systematic attack on the civilian population in Myanmar.
Unwavering demand from peaceful protests
In parallel to the growing atrocities of the terrorist junta, peaceful protests which highly demand the end of dictatorship and transfer of state power into the hands of the civilian government elected through the 2020 General Elections continue to exist across the country. Myanmar people from different States and Regions, regardless of their urban and rural locations, continue to walk to the streets, holding banners that show their resistance against the illegitimate junta and raising protest-chants that express their voices. Despite the raging of a life-threatening pandemic in Myanmar, people remain fearless to fight against the brutal junta every day. While all peaceful demonstrations observed everywhere in the country are meaningful, the march of the Sangha Union in Mandalay, farmers in paddy fields in Taze Township, and torchlight protests in Yangon on 29 July were a few among the significant demonstrations.
Although the sufferings may be unbearable for the people of Myanmar, the rule of the worst military dictatorship in the world, which neglected their votes and continues to commit various inhumane acts, is never unendurable. At this rate, conquering the terrorist military is the ultimate aim of the Myanmar people. So realizing the unprecedented unity and resilience of the pro-democracy people inside and outside Myanmar, SAC’s soldiers and plain-clothed intelligence officers have intensified their crackdown on the peaceful protests throughout this week.
Weighted endeavor of the NUG
July this year remarks the 6-month revolutionary period for pro-democracy Myanmar people. At the same time, it also remarks on the 100 days anniversary of establishing the National Unity Government. On 29 July, Acting President Duwa Lashi La conveyed a summary report to the general public about the NUG’s accomplishments during the 100 days. Following the speech of the Acting President, ministries under the NUG also released their 100 days reports, respectively. In general, it is indeed a pleasure to acknowledge that the NUG had distributed 715 million Myanmar Kyats to areas in need, particularly Mindat, Karenni, Phekon, etc. It has also had constructive discussions with ethnic armed organizations, civic society organizations, non-government organizations, and various other Myanmar communities abroad on aid matters. But most importantly, another progress for the NUG was the Minister for Women, Youths, and Children, Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe’s participation in the UN Security Council’s Arria-Formula Meeting held on 29 July. During the meeting, the Minister made good use of the given opportunity to speak out about the on-the-ground situation of Myanmar on behalf of her people.
International pressure on the illegal coup
During the visit to three countries located in the Southeast Asia region, the United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin explicitly condemned the actions of the Myanmar military junta and urged the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to expedite their actions of demanding the complete end of violence in Myanmar.
On the one hand, the Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi opposed the military junta’s nullification of the 2020 General Elections results. He clearly expressed that the military’s action went against the Japanese government’s demand for Myanmar’s return to democracy and stated that the 2020 General Elections were free and fair under the eyes of domestic and international election monitoring teams.
On the other hand, the recently held UN Security Council’s Arria-Formula Meeting organized by the UK heard voices from the pro-democracy movement and ethnic entities within Myanmar via briefers. All participants made unequivocal statements condemning the failed coup attempt, which harmed the Myanmar people in unprecedented and severe ways, and pleading for unhindered access and adequate delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as ensuring medical workers and voluntary civil society organizations could extend medical resources and treatment to vulnerable people and those infected.
Besides, the Charge de affairs of the German Permanent Mission to the UN also condemned the brutal repression and illegal overthrow of the elected government and stated that the perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable.
Date: 1 August 2021
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations