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Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (1 Jan 2023)


Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar


(01-01-2023)


Almost two years ago on 1st 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 30 December 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,688 people, arrested 16,704 people, and 13,217 people remain in detention, whereas 139 people have been sentenced to death, including 97 post-coup death row prisoners and 42 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians. Four democracy activists who were given to death sentence were executed by the military junta in July 2022.


Additional sentencing of years in prison for the State Counsellor


Arbitrarily detained State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to seven more years in prison on December 30 2022. The State Counsellor has been detained since the military’s initiated its coup attempt on 1 February 2021, and she faced five charges of corruption in connection with her administration’s rental and purchase of helicopters for disaster relief management. She has been allegedly convicted on a total of 19 charges. She is now facing a total of 33 years’ imprisonment for all charges.


Sentencing students, members of civil societies and CDM staff

The AAPP reported that on 23 December 2022, Thiri Yadanar, central executive member and treasurer of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU); Aung Myo Ko, chairman of the Mandalay District Students’ Union (ABFSU); and Kyaw Zin Latt, former executive of the Mandalay Education College Students’ Union (ABFSU), were each sentenced to twenty-two years’ imprisonment. They were sentenced by the Special Court inside Obo Prison and were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law and to seven years’ imprisonment under Section 52(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law. They were arrested on March 2, 2022.


On 23 December, Kaung Htet Oo, in-charge of the ABSFU Yangon Treasury Bureau, was reportedly sentenced to 15 years in prison under the Counter-Terrorism Law Section 49(a). In addition, Nu Nu Aung from the Farmers’ Welfare Department; Khet Khet Aung from the Women and Child’s Affair Department of 88 Generation Peace and Open Society; and her son Myat Thu Aung were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment under 50(j), and a five-year sentence for Section 51(c) of the Counter Terrorism Law Section. They have been detained since April 2022. It was reported that on 28 December, Naing Ye Wai, a former chairman of the Yadanarpon University Students’ Union in Mandaly, who was arrested in July 2022, was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.


On 29 December, Nang Twal Tar Oo, Joint-Secretary of the Yangon University of Education Students’ Union (ABFSU), and Yu Yu Mon, a former member of the Yangon Institute of Economics Students’ Union and current Vice-Chief Statistician of the Nay Pyi Taw Central Statistical Organization, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison. Yu Yu Mon had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement and both were arrested in June 2022.


Kaung Khant Kyaw, a primary school teacher in Htate Pote Kone Village, Myanaung Township, Ayeyarwady Region, was given a death sentence on 30 December under Section 51(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law and Section 302(1)(c) of the Penal Code. He had previously been sentenced to five years in prison under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law in August 2022. Kaung Khant Kyaw is a Civil Disobedience Movement staff member and was arrested in October 2021.


Serious crimes committed by the Military

Raiding the villages and violence against Civilians


The military forces continued raiding villages and committing violence against civilians during the end of 2022. According to the AAPP news, on 26 December 2022, the military conducted airstrikes on Nyaung Kan Village, Saw Township in Magway Region, killing four civilians and injuring five others. On the same day, the military forces suddenly fired heavy weaponry in Kawt Pyin Village in Mone Town. The artillery shells struck a household and killed a 7-year-old child. On December 27, the military forces along with around 60 soldiers raided Po Wa Village, Madaya Township, Mandalay Region. During the raid, two young villagers who were named as members of a defense force were arrested. When the military forces left the village on the following day, the burnt bodies of those two villages were reportedly found.


Detained civilians found dead in Mandalay

According to the Myanmar Now, the bodies of seven men detained by the military forces in Ngazun Township in Mandalay were found dead in two different locations in the surrounding areas. The men were arrested during a military raid on Yae Zin after a member of the Pyu Saw Htee militia was reportedly killed in the area on December 23. The local villagers said the military council had compiled a list of area residents who participated in or led anti-dictatorship protests following the February 2021 coup, or who supported the National League for Democracy party in the 2020 general election. Most of the residents of Yae Zin had already fled the community after the recent murders. However, when the military forces raided the village again during the last week of December, they captured several local women who remained in the village. Moreover, A large number of Myanmar army troops have been deployed to Ngazun.

The bodies of eight villagers who were arrested by the military forces in November were reportedly discovered in Indaw Township, Sagaing Region on 25 December. According to Indaw People’s Defence Force (PDF), the bodies were found in two different locations. All eight bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. Two of the victims had been decapitated, while the others had crushed skulls. During the military’s raid of Nat Ma Hote Gyi, the military forces also set fire to households. It was reported that the individual in charge of the raid was also responsible for other raids of villages in Indaw and Htigyaing Townships.


Activities of the National Unity Government

On December 27, Acting President of the NUG Duwa Lashi La called for decisive military operations to be carried out to take down the military junta’s main base in 2023. He said victory in taking down the military base is necessary for the revolution. The year 2023 is the time to conquer the main base of the military junta, and a defensive war alone is no longer enough. In his new year’s speech delivered on 1 January 2023, he also stated that there is no one to defend the terrorist group internationally, and that it has become crippled due to the blows from all sectors. In terms of the UNSC resolution on Myanmar, the Acting President highlighted that the resolution clearly proved that there is no one in the international community to defend the regime. The NUG’s strategic cooperation with ethnic armed organizations, and civil society organizations abroad could cripple the military junta in different sectors, including political, business, social and diplomatic areas. The Burma Act adopted recently by the US showed that there is no room for the military junta on the international stage, and the efforts of the people of Myanmar for justice and democracy have been recognized.

The National Unity Government and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) released a New Year Joint Declaration on the People’s Revolution in Myanmar. It stated that successive dictators have committed injustice, violations of human rights, and international crimes against ethnic nationalities. They reassured that transitional justice will be implemented for the violations committed against the ethnic nationalities by successive dictators. In addition, it stated that a Federal Defence Force, which embraces the principles of civilian supremacy and is solely concerned with the defense of the nation, will be established.

The Prime Minister of the NUG highlighted in his new year speech that more than about 13,000 soldiers and police officers who have defected to People’s Embrace are participating in various ways to root out the military council, cooperating together with the NUG. He said the Myanmar military now is only protecting a group of dictatorial leaders and has lost its morale. He stressed that it is critical to record and report the world about all the violence committed by the Myanmar military.


The National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (NUG) released a statement dated 28 December 2022 on the sentencing of the President and State Counsellor on fabricated charges by the terrorist military council. The NUG recalled its statement issued on 9 December declaring the judgements and sentences passed on the President, State Counsellor and other political activists were invalid. The NUG pledged that the revolution will be a success and build the future where the rule of law prevails.


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

The international community condemned the sentencing of the President and the State Counsellor. The European Union released a statement on December 30 that these trials were carried forward with no respect for due legal procedure or necessary judicial guarantees and are a clear attempt to exclude democratically elected leaders from political life. The European Union strongly condemned these trials, verdicts and the overall dismantlement of democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar. The EU reiterated its position that only a genuine dialogue involving Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy, the National Unity Government, civil society and all other relevant stakeholders in Myanmar can lead the way out of the deep crisis in the country and restore the path towards democracy. Moreover, the EU also raised its concern over the large number of persons arbitrarily detained. It recalled for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The EU reiterated its full support for ASEAN’s efforts to promote a peaceful resolution of the crisis in Myanmar.


France’s Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs released a statement on 30 December 2022 on the sentencing of the State Counsellor. It condemned in the strongest possible terms the new seven-year prison sentence imposed on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi following arbitrary legal proceedings that aim to discredit a democratically elected civilian political figure. It stressed that that sentence is an additional indication of the military regime’s contempt for the rule of law and the will of the Burmese people. It reiterated its commitment to seeing the establishment of a political dialogue that includes the democratic opposition, including the National League for Democracy and its historic leaders. It recalled UN Security Council resolution 2669’s urging for the immediate, unconditional release of all those who are being arbitrarily detained, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, as well as its call for an end to the violence committed by Myanmar’s security forces.


Vedant Patel, Principal Deputy Spokesperson from Department of State of the United States of America also stressed that the Burma military regime’s final sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi is an affront to the rule of law. He reiterated the US’s commitment to working with international partners, including ASEAN, to support the people of Burma’s calls for democracy and accountability. The UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews stated that the Myanmar junta's 33-year sentence of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi comes a week after a Security Council resolution demanded her release and that of more than 13,000 other political prisoners. He called for international actors to take action, expressing that what is needed is more than words of condemnation from world leaders.

The Embassy of Canada in Myanmar declared on 31 December 2022 that the people of Myanmar continued to demonstrate remarkable courage and resilience in the face of immeasurable hardship and indefensible oppression. It stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and will continue to support the people of Myanmar, their enduring democratic aspirations, and will redouble efforts to hold perpetrators of violence to account.



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Date: 01 January 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York



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