Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (11 December 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
About one year and ten months 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 9 December 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,566 people, arrested 16,543 people, and 13,070 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. At least 900 houses and buildings have been sealed off by the military between February 2021 and November 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
According to the news, the military forces arrested a civilian named Phone Myat Ko (19) from Lewe Township of Nay Pyi Taw, while he was working at a fried rice stall. It was said that he was accused of involvement in an explosion near a police checkpoint in Lewe Township. It was reported that he died within three days of his arrest.
Myanmar Now News reported that a prominent figure of Myanmar’s traditional acts named Phoe Chit, was arrested by the military forces at his home in Yangon on 30 November 2022. It was reported that he was taken into custody for his role in opposing military rule.
The AAPP reported that on 1 December 2022, the military forces arrested a political activist named Phyo Phyo Min Maung from Pakokku Township of Magway Region. She was accused of donating money in support of local PDFs. She was beaten by military and security forces during the evening of 2 December 2022. It was reported that she was charged with Counter-Terrorism Law Section 50(j) at Pakokku Myoma Police Station.
News reported that at around 7 am on 7 December 2022, the military forces arrested seven civilians who live in Mya Kyun Thar Compound, Htain Nha Pin Village Tract of Htantabin Township in Yangon Region, and took them to Shwepyithar Interrogation Center. It was reported that those arrested included 11-year-old Naw Han Ni Su, as well as Naw Phaw Lay, Saw Kyaw Zaw Hein, Myo Thet Tun, Aung Htet, D Pa and Htet Nyi Oo.
Torching the Villages in Tabayin Township
News reported that on 3 December 2022, a military column consisting of 80 forces raided Nyaung Hla Village in Tabayin Township of Sagaing Region, and torched the village. The source said that starting from around 11 am until evening, the military forces set fire to the village, and the local villages had fled.
In the village, more than 54 houses and seven building in a monastery compound were burned down, and on 4 December 2022, the military forces set fire to the other villages of Namyar, Yinkyay and Mayoekone within Tabayin Township.
Abducting dozens of civilians in Hpakant Township
News reported that during the first-week of December 2022, the military forces abducted dozens of local residents as hostage in Hpakant township of Kachin State. It was reported that 20 civilians were abducted on the route and then they were being held at a military base near Namya Village, and another 13 local residents from Namya Village were taken to a tactical base in Kamaing town on 1 December 2022.
Of those abducted, three civilians – a teacher, a student, and another individual – were released on 5 December 2022. The source said that the three released civilians had been taken by the military forces on their way travelling along the road from Namya Village to Hpakant Township.
Arresting and murdering civilians in Natogyi Township
Myanmar Now News reported that on 6 December 2022, the military forces arrested six local civilians, who are supporters of the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Natogyi Township of Mandalay Region, and murdered them. It was reported that the bodies of those arrested were discovered along a roadside on 7 December 2022. The victims were identified as Kyaw Saung (63), Khin Maung Sein (63), Han Tin (42), Soe Paing (37), Min Zaw (36) and Aung Ko Min (17).
The source said that 40 military troops and members of paramilitary group “Phy Saw Htee” forcibly took the victims from their houses. Their bodies were found along the highway connecting Natogyi and Myingyan in Mandalay Region, and each had suffered a gunshot wound to the head.
Fears of People in Laukkaing Town
News reported that the local people have been leaving the town due to their fears over the heavy fighting triggered between the military forces and the Kokang ethnic armed organization in Laukkaing Town in the Kokang Self-administrative Zone in northern Shan State. It was reported that the rumors of fighting recently came after fierce clashes between the two sides in late November in the south of Laukkaing Township.
The source said that people have been fleeing by hundreds of vehicles with their possessions, and they have been leaving Laukkaing Town for Lashio and Muse, towns in northern Shan State, as well as to the towns in the Wa Special Region and central cities such as Mandalay.
The AAPP reported that on 1 December 2022, the Dawei District Court of Taninthayri Region sentenced a political prisoner named Yar Zar Tun in Dawei Prison to an additional 7 years in prison under the Penal Code Section 302/144. It was reported that he had previously been sentenced to 21 years imprisonment in September 2021, and he was given an additional 20 years in October of 2022.
On 5 December 2022, the Paung Township Court of Mon State sentenced Thet Hnin Aung, who is the General Secretary of the Myanmar Infrastructure, Craft and Service Labour Union, to two years in prison and fined him 20,000 Kyats. It was reported that he was sentenced under the Unlawful Associations Act Section 17(1). He was arrested in Myawaddy Town in June of 2021 and was sentenced over a year after his arrest.
According to the AAPP, Aye Zan, a doctor and chief minister of Mon State, was accused of wielding improper influence in the 2020 General Election, The special court inside Kyaikmaraw Central Prison re-sentenced him to an additional two years of imprisonment on 6 December 2022. These two added years of imprisonment were based on two charges, under Section 171(f) of the Penal Code. It was reported that he had already been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in previous trials.
On 7 December 2022, a former member of the Executive Committee of the All Burma Federation of Students Unions (ABFSU) named Lin Htet Naing (aka James) was sentenced to three years of imprisonment. It was reported that the special court of Kyauktada Township has sentenced him under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code. On 3 November 2022, he had previously been charged under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law in Botahtaung District Court.
News reported that on 7 December 2022, Thian Lian Sang, a reverend from the Falam Baptist Church in Mandalay, was sentenced to a total of 23 years of imprisonment. It was reported that Thian Lian Sang was arrested on 16 September 2021, and then was sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labor under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code, as well as to another twenty years of imprisonment with hard labor under Section 49(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.
Pledge from Myanmar Families to help Myanmar Students who were sentenced to death
As a closed court of the military sentenced the seven Myanmar students under 25 years old to death, the relatives and families of those students called on 6 December 2022 for global help. The rights activists said that the military is now regularly using the death penalty as a "political tool", and called for a moratorium on capital punishment with the aim of abolishing it altogether.
Highlights on the Humanitarian Situations in Myanmar
The UNHCR issued the highlights of the Myanmar Emergency Update as of 5 December 2022, reporting that there were an estimated 1,473,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) within Myanmar during the reporting period, including 1,143,000 people who have been newly displaced since 1 February 2021.
It reported that the number of IDPs increased from 328,900 to 331,500 in the South-East of Myanmar, as of 5 December 2022, highlighting the situations in Bago (East), in Kayin State, and in Kayah State. In Bago (East), the armed clashes and airstrikes led to further displacements, including some 829 IDPs verified in Shwegyin Township. In Kayin State, about 1,436 IDPs returned to their village of origin in Kawkareik Township. In Kayah State, a total of 3,015 IDPs from Demoso Township have been displaced within Demoso and Loikaw Townships due to heavy fighting, airstrikes, and increased military presence in these areas.
In the North-West of the country, the security situation remains volatile across Chin State and Sagaing and Magway Regions, where the displacement increased due to active armed clashes, and arson and airstrikes continue. In addition, the humanitarian access has been challenging, particularly in Sagaing Region where the needs are most acute, and the conflict is expected to escalate in the winter months, leaving civilians increasingly at risk of attacks.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 5 December 2022, the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar issued a statement on the events relating to the incident in Tamu Township. The statement said that in response to the heavily trending news on social about a woman, purported to be a perpetrator in a murder of some PDFs, shown being shot and killed, the Ministry of Defence of the National Unity Government reiterated that this is in contravention of the code of conduct and rules of engagement it has laid down. Stating that the NUG has directed relevant officials to investigate urgently the events in detail, the statement underlined that if anyone is found to be in breach of any of the rules stipulated by law, a severe penalty will be imposed on those found guilty, as this is an unacceptable situation. Through the statement, the National Unity Government pledges to do its utmost to prevent abhorrent incidents like this from happening again anywhere in the country and to work towards an independent future Federal Democracy where compassion and empathy thrives in the community.
On 6 December 2022, the Central Committee for Counter-Terrorism of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued Notification No (1/2022) on Proscription of Terrorist Groups, with the consent of the Union Government, and under the powers vested by section 6(c) and section 72(b) of the Counter-terrorism Law (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law 23/2014). The notification highlighted the following points:
It has been ascertained that Myanma Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation have been engaging in monopolistic business practices to generate substantial annual revenue for the terrorist group headed by Min Aung Hlaing so as to perpetuate their reign of terror.
It has also been further ascertained from financial statements of these entities that revenues are being disbursed primarily for the benefit of the top leadership of the terrorist military organisation while denying ordinary rank and file soldiers their fair share of the benefits.
Further, those revenues have enabled the terrorist military organisation to prosecute their war of terror against the people, mounting attacks and committing murder daily against innocent, defenceless civilians all over the country.
Myanma Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation are thus designated and proscribed as terrorist groups.
All assets belonging to those entities are hereby designated as ‘assets of terrorist groups’ under Section 3(d) and shall be seized and administered for public interest under Section 6(l) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.
On 10 December 2022, the Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement, highlighting that the theme of 2022 “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” holds special meaning to Myanmar and lies at the heart of the revolution of the people of Myanmar. The statement underlined that for more than 22 months, the illegal military group bombed and razed the villages, extrajudicially executed pro-democracy activists, unlawfully detained and tortured the youth, and murdered, starved and displaced the children. Young people were unjustly arrested and tortured, and at least seven university students have been sentenced to death. Joining the call to action to #StandUp4HumanRights, the statement urged the international community to transform this year’s theme into real action in support of frontline human rights activists and defenders around the world.
On Human Rights Day 2022, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw issued a statement on 10 December 2022, which marks the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The statement said that the military junta is perpetrating the most egregious of human rights violations against citizens and deliberately targeting the legitimate elected lawmakers and democracy defenders. It stated that since the military junta launched its unlawful coup in February 2021, unlawful arrests, extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and property seizure have become common place for the military junta. Over 2,565 civilians have now been killed and 16,540 civilians arbitrarily detained. The statement underlined that the CRPH on behalf of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw commit to hold the military junta accountable for their long reign of terror against Ethnic Nationalities and democracy defenders to bring justice to all people of Myanmar. It highlighted that the CRPH reiterated the call to the United Nations, ASEAN, AIPA lawmakers, the European Parliament and the international community to support Myanmar to have the killings halted, and to help save many lives by enforcing effective actions on these military leaders and their close backers.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
In response to the military’s sentencing a freelance reporter named Myo San Soe, who contributed to the local Delta News Agency and Ayeyarwaddy Times, to 15 years in person on charges of violating sections 50(j) and 52(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on 5 December 2022, that the authorities of Myanmar should immediately and unconditionally release Myo San Soe and called on it to stop imprisoning members of the press.
On 6 December 2022, UNICEF issued an Humanitarian Action for Children 2023 – Myanmar, highlighting that Myanmar continues to experience a severe and worsening humanitarian and human rights crisis, and conflict and violence have escalated across the country, impacting children and their families and displacing more than 1.4 million people. It stated that the ongoing political crisis has been coupled with economic challenges, increasing people's vulnerability, in which an estimated 17.6 million people, including 5.6 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance. UNICEF mentioned that access of children and their families to such essential services as health care, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and education is severely constrained. It underlined that UNICEF requires US$169.6 million to respond to multisectoral humanitarian needs of children in Myanmar.
At the United Nations daily press briefing on 7 December 2022, Stephanie Tremblay, the associate spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that although the humanitarian community welcomes the recently announced informal ceasefire agreement between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar Armed Forces, concerns are growing for the ongoing armed clashes, tight security, access restrictions and threats against aid workers, putting lives at risk and hampering humanitarian operations in other parts of the country. The associate spokesperson added that the humanitarian community reiterated the call of the Secretary-General on the parties to the conflict to end the fighting and to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need. In addition, it was also stated that the aid workers are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the recently passed NGO registration law on the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance by partners. The associate spokesperson explained that the Humanitarian Response Plan for this year remains severely underfunded, with only 28 per cent of the requirements received as of 5 December, leaving a gap of $593 million as the year almost reaches its end.
On 7 December 2022, World Food Programme (WFP) issued that the European Union (EU) has contributed EUR 6.5 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) towards its humanitarian assistance in Myanmar, where some 15 million people are facing moderate or severe food insecurity. It was also stated that since the start of 2022, WFP has reached nearly three million people with food, nutrition and livelihood support across the country. With access to populations in greatest need remaining largely constrained, the EU and WFP call for uninterrupted and sustained access, particularly to those uprooted by recent violence in Chin State, Kayah State, Magway Division, and Sagaing Division.
As host of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC) Summit held on 12 to 14 December 2022, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) of Switzerland has decided to exclude all government representatives from Myanmar. It announced on 7 December, “The Summit will be open to representatives of governments accredited by the UN General Assembly, which is not yet the case for Myanmar”.
At the United Nations press briefing on 8 December 2022, the spokesperson for the Secretary -General Stéphane Dujarric said that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) urged the countries in the region of the Adaman Sea to immediately rescue and safely disembark a group of about 200 Rohingya refugees in distress, reported to be drifting in a vessel off the coast of Thailand. The Spokesperson added that according to the UNHCR, in line with international obligations under the Law of the Sea and longstanding maritime traditions, the duty to rescue persons in distress at sea should be upheld, irrespective of nationality or legal status.
On 9 December 2022 – Human Rights Day – the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada announced that Canada is imposing measures on those complicit in gross and systematic human rights violations in Russia, Iran and Myanmar. Under the Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations, Canada imposed sanctions against 12 individuals and three entities, who perform key functions on behalf of the Myanmar military, who are responsible for democratic reversals, who facilitate arms flows to the military to enable the violence against civilians. It was stated that Canada and its international partners will continue to coordinate efforts to promote justice and maintain pressure on those around the world who systematically violate the most basic human rights and freedoms.
On the same day, the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom announced a new wave of sanctions, targeting corrupt actors and those violating and abusing human rights, as well as perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict. The sanctions of the United Kingdom also targeted those involved in the Myanmar military and security forces, which are known for committing systematic atrocities against the people of Myanmar, including massacre, torture, and rape. Designations included the Office of the Chief of Military and Security Affairs, the central perpetrator of torture for interrogation since the coup, and the 33rd and 99th Light Infantry Divisions, which were responsible for attacks, including sexual violence during the clearance operations of the Rakhine state in 2017 and which continue to commit atrocities across the country.
Date: 11 December 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York