Myanmar Mission To UN
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (11 September 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Over nineteen months ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the civilian government, and unlawfully and unjustly 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 the people suffer with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 9 September 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,272 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 15,446 people have been arrested and a total of 125 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 83 (including 2 children) are detained 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.
Atrocities committed by the military
Raiding, Torching, Abducting and Killing local villagers in Sagaing Region
It was reported that during the two-day raid at Thayet Pin Village in Kani Township, Sagaing Region, a junta soldier raped a woman with intellectual disabilities. When the raid was launched on 27 August 2022 by the 100-troop column, most villagers were forced to flee, and the rest came under siege. The woman, who is in her 40s, was among those who were unable to leave. On the next day, a soldier in plainclothes entered the home and forced the parents to stay in the house as he brought the woman outside, where she was then raped. A former health worker who examined the survivor after the attack said that her wounds were consistent with rape.
During that occupation, the junta soldiers set up posts at five locations in the village, including in a school and in brick homes. The troops also ransacked a clinic where internally displaced persons had been seeking treatment, destroying nearly 20m kyat (US$9,500) worth of medical supplies. These junta troops belong to the same column that raided the village of Yin Paung Taing in Yinmabin Township earlier in August, killing at least 18 people.
According to the local news, on 3 and 4 September 2022, a spokesperson from the Civil Defence and Security Organisation of Myaung (CDSOM), the resistance coalition said that some 150 soldiers from two junta columns attacked more than 10 villages in Myaung Township, Sagaing Region and captured and interrogated at least 15 residents. Villagers from those villages have been assaulted and displaced in a series of recent junta raids which followed a clash between resistance forces and military in Myaung on 2 September 2022. The targeted communities included Bu Kaing, Thayet Thar, Thayet Taw, Si Ywar, Gaung Khwel, Sin Min, Pan Nyo, Nyaung Kar Kar, Ywar Pale, Ngar Yant Oh and Min Hla. More than 5,000 people from the villages had fled their homes at the time of reporting. According to reports, anti-junta defence forces in the area have been assisting with providing shelter and food to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myaung, but are facing difficulties in meeting the growing humanitarian needs.
Killing innocent civilians
According to news reports, on 4 September 2022, Zawmeir Huson, a 20-year-old villager from Dar Paing Village was killed at a military checkpoint when travelling to Sittwe by motorcycle. He and his friends were stopped and questioned by the junta forces in Bu Mei ward at around 7am. According to the locals who witnessed the situation, they were asked to show their Covid-19 clearance documents, and later Zawmeir Huson was shot dead in the neck while he was calling home to say that he had been detained. It was reported that a traveling companion of Zawmeir Huson was believed to be in junta custody at the time of reporting, although his identity was unconfirmed.
Arbitrary arrests of the members of NLD, CDM staff and their family members
According to the news, on 4 September 2022, three people from Thayarwady Township in Bago Region were arrested at their houses by junta forces. One of the arrested was Kyaw Min, the chairman of the ward and village for the National League for Democracy (NLD), from Let Pan Tone Village. Another person arrested was the wife of Tin Soe, who is the chairman of the ward and village for the National League for Democracy (NLD) for Si Pin Village. She was taken as a hostage when the junta couldn’t find Tin Soe when they came to arrest him. The third person arrested was a CDM teacher from the State Agricultural Institute.
In the afternoon of 7 September 2022, the junta arrested Than Than Aung, a CDM health officer in Pauk Township, Magway Region. She was arrested on her way home for allegedly providing medical treatment for PDFs.
Actions taken against the anti-military activists
On 31 August 2022, Kyaw Thiha Soe, a member of the Mandalay Strike Force was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the special court inside Obo Prison. On 1 September 2022, another 3 members of the other Strike Force, namely Hein Min Zaw, Kyaw Soe Moe and Ja Seng Aung, were each sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment with charges under Penal Code Section 505A by the special court in Obo Prison.
On 5 September 2022, Tin Ko Ko, Mandalay Region’s Secretary for the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour under Section 25/30 (A) of the Natural Disaster Management Law in the Special Court in Obo Prison. He was arrested on 1 February 2021, the day of the coup. He was later falsely charged for being responsible for the celebration of the election victory on the night of the election day on 8 November 2020. The celebration was held in front of the office of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Mandalay Region in Chanayethazan Township, Mandalay Region, with local residents’ participating.
Actions taken against the imprisoned student leaders
On 1 September 2022, Aung Naing Thu, a member of the Mandalay Education Degree College Students’ Union (All Burma Federation of Student Unions), was sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment by the special court inside Obo Prison, with charges under Penal Code Section 505A. He was arrested during a crackdown on the Mandalay Strike on 12 May 2021.
Death of an anti-military activist in the prison
On 6 September 2022, Aung Zaw Oo (aka Mohammed Pwa Ruk), a former political prisoner and activist, passed away in Sao San Tun Hospital. He was a leader of a People’s Defence Force (PDF) group based in southern Shan State, and was arrested in Taunggyi Township, Shan State on 21 July 2021. He was sentenced to seven year’s imprisonment with charges under Counter-Terrorism Law Section 52(A) in May, 2022. It was reported that he had suffered from several broken ribs due to severe beatings during interrogation which worsened during in prison.
Airstrikes targeting civilian areas
According to the news, five civilians, including three children, were injured by Myanmar army shelling in northern Shan State on 6 September 2022. It was reported that fighting began when the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) intercepted a 14-vehicle junta convoy near Nam Hpat Kar, a town on the Muse-Kutkai highway, on 5 September 2022. The fighting continued into the next day until the military used airstrikes and fired heavy artillery from their base in Nam Hpat Kar Village in the evening. Several artillery shells fired by the military in response to that attack landed in the nearby Maw Hit Village and injured those five residents mentioned above. Among those injured, the two who were hospitalized were identified as Pyae Phyo, 33, and seven-year-old Naw San Nan. The others injured were Khaung Naw, 72, Sai Khun Nan, 12, and Bran Htoi Nan, 3.
Heavy artillery fired at civilian locations
The junta’s 407th Light Infantry Battalion and 408th Light Infantry Battalion reportedly fired heavy weaponry at Day Law Pu Village, Mae Kalaw Village Tract, Dweiloe Township (Hpapun), Kayin State on 23 August 2022. The shelling struck a 56-year-old local woman in the stomach, killing her instantly. Her husband was also injured, and their house was destroyed.
On 31 August 2022, CDSOM’s information officer said that two civilians were killed and three injured after a military artillery shell hit an IDP camp in Zee Kyun, Myaung Township, where some 200 people from the villages of Bu Khaing, Thayet Thar and Kyauk Yit had been sheltering.
In the morning of 5 September 2022, a column from the junta fired at and raided Maung Htaung Village, Budalin Township, Sagaing Region, with heavy weaponry. Due to those shootings, one local woman was killed on the spot and two women were injured.
Restrictions of medical supplies, travelling and other goods in Paletwa Township
According to the news, the SAC restricted all imports and transporting of medical supplies into Paletwa Township, Chin State, where the clashes between the military forces and the Arakan Army (AA) have intensified. Those restrictions have caused health problems for the locals due to insufficient medical supplies. According to the locals, since the junta restricted even the medicine for malaria in the malaria-prone region like Paletwa, there were some avoidable casualties. In addition, those restrictions resulted in a price increase of all commodities. Travel restrictions have been imposed on everyone, including the locals, such that one needs to get permission in advance to leave or enter the township. However, there was no official announcement of the SAC regarding those restrictions.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 5 September 2022, the National Unity Government issued a Weekly Newsletter No. 19/2022, which published articles relating to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included the meeting of the NUG Prime Minister and the authorities with the Rohingya Communities in Bangladesh, the NUG’s Foreign Minister meeting with the Czech Foreign Minister, the Ministry of Human Rights encouraging the civilians to report unlawful killings by the SAC, the NUG designating the mansion of civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as an interim national heritage site, and the collaborated efforts of the NUG and the KNU for the reunion of two CDM soldiers and their families.
On 6 September 2022, the virtual meeting was held between the cabinet members of the NUG. The acting President, the Prime Minister, the Union Ministers and the Deputy Ministers attended the meeting. During the meeting, discussions including the deteriorating situation of Myanmar after the coup, the atrocities and the human rights violations of the terrorist military junta, the experiences and lessons learned during the one year period since the declaration of the people’s defensive war, and the needs to discuss the progress and the requirements of each ministry at the cabinet meeting. The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration explained the process of issuing birth certificates to the children of Myanmar citizens abroad.
On 7 September 2022, for the occasion of One-year Anniversary of the Declaration of the People's Defensive War State of Union, the Acting President Duwa Lashi La delivered a statement virtually.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
During the interview with the Reuters on 5 September 2022, Saifuddin Abdullah, Malaysia's Foreign Minister, called on ASEAN to act more urgently in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and spur a peace process in junta-ruled Myanmar. The Foreign Minister said he had written to the ASEAN Secretary-General on 3 September to ask for updates on the situation in Myanmar, as he had yet to receive any reports from the bloc's leadership since the grouping met in Cambodia last month. He told the reporters that the ASEAN Secretariat must have a sense of urgency to look into what is actually happening in Myanmar and he added that the bloc could not afford to wait until its next major summit in November. He further added that the ASEAN secretariat must have a full-time team working on the conflict, otherwise people get killed in between all of the ASEAN meetings. Saifuddin also called on ASEAN countries to decide on whether they would continue to work with the junta in providing humanitarian assistance, as he said many aid agencies in Myanmar were unwilling to work with the military or organisations linked to it. He emphasized that ASEAN must decide big questions urgently, such as where do they stand? Do they continue with the junta? Or, do they work without the junta and support the people who are known as doing good work?
On 6 September 2022, at the United Nations’ daily press briefing, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said that the people in Myanmar continue to bear the brunt of continued fighting and a crippling economic situation that has been compounded by increasing inflation. He stated that nearly 1.3 million men, women and children are now displaced across Myanmar, and this includes more than 947,000 people displaced by the conflict since the military takeover in February 2021. He added that in addition, 330,000 people, the majority in Rakhine State, remain displaced from previous conflicts. He mentioned that aid workers are gravely concerned over the impact of the resumption of full-scale fighting on civilians in Rakhine State and southern Chin State. He also explained that food has become unaffordable for many people and agricultural production has fallen due to the high costs of inputs and displacement, and aid workers also continue to face access issues. He further mentioned that unimpeded humanitarian access must be granted, and bureaucratic obstructions must be removed to allow for the delivery of services to people who need them. He added that despite such challenges, the partners have continued to scale up their work, reaching nearly 3.1 million people in the first half year of this year alone. He also said that the Humanitarian Response Plan for Myanmar is only 17 per cent funded and calls for $826 million.
On 6 September 2022, the UNICEF Myanmar posted the Humanitarian Situation Report No. 7 for 1 July to 31 August 2022. In the highlights of that report, as of 29 August, the number of displaced people has reached 1.3 million nationally, including displacement since February 2021 and protracted displacement prior to the military takeover. Some schools reopened across the country, as the school year began in June, but many more remain closed, particularly in rural areas. Only 33 per cent opened in Kachin, Kayah, and Chin states while, in Sagaing region, around half the schools are closed because of the conflict. Levels of violence and instability have worsened, causing large-scale internal displacement and disrupting children’s opportunities to learn safely. The Mine Action Area of Responsibility (AoR) reported 185 incidents of landmines and explosive ordnance from January to June 2022 of which 33 percent of the casualties are children. UNICEF continues to work towards providing assistance to the victims and increasing explosive risk education for children and their parents. UNICEF and its partners have seen a marked improvement in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) indicator. 40,834 people were assisted during the period, a 53 per cent increase compared to the previous month, due to implementing a variety of methods including virtual access and hotlines, capacity building and communities empowering, allowing expanded access in hard to reach areas. A total of 3,568 children aged 9 to 18 months were vaccinated against measles in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan during the reporting period.
After the junta imposed new prison sentence with hard labour on State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the international community, including the EU and France, condemned the unjustified sentence and called on the junta to release her and all political prisoners.
On 9 September 2022, the United States’ Department of State issued a 2022 Fiscal Transparency Report: Burma. The report mentioned that the coup d’état on 1 February 2021 reversed fiscal transparency improvements made between 2012 and 2021. The military dramatically decreased overall fiscal transparency. The report also underlined that the previous government published its executive budget proposal and enacted budget online within a reasonable period, however, it is unclear if the current regime relied on this budget to allocate funds. The report emphasized that while the previous civilian government produced and made available end-of-quarter reports, the current regime ceased this practice and stopped regularly reviewing the budget throughout the fiscal year. Information on debt obligations was available online, but it was out of date. Budget documents were not complete and did not capture allocations to and earnings from military-owned enterprises falling under the Ministry of Defense. It was mentioned that there is insufficient public information to determine whether budget documents were comparable year-to-year or whether actual revenues and expenditures reasonably corresponded to those in the enacted budget. The supreme audit institution did not meet international standards of independence and did not issue publicly available audit reports of the government’s financial accounts. The report further stressed that the government did not fully specify in law or regulation the criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction license and contracts and did not appear to follow existing procedures in practice. Basic information on awards was not publicly available.
Date: 11 September 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York