Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (12 June 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been in 17 months since 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 10 June 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,929 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, 14,061 people have been arrested and 11,004 people remain in detention, whereas a total of 114 people have been sentenced to death of which 73 (including two children) were in person and 41 in absentia, since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
The Military killing civilians
According to AAPP, the military forces arrested a villager named Chit Lwin, a palm tree climber from Daung Chan Village in Kani Township of Sagaing Region on 5 June 2022. The next day, the villager was questioned and tortured at a farm, on the way from Nat Myauk Village to Nat Taung Village, and later immolated. It was reported that his family buried his body in the evening of 6 June 2022.
According to Myanmar Now News, when a military column consisting of around 200 troops was travelling from Kone Thar Village in Loikaw Township of Karenni (Kayah) State to Moebye Township in southern Shan State, a clash occurred between the military forces and the Moebye People’s Defence Force (PDF) for the whole day in Moebye Township on 7 June 2022. It was reported that the military forces opened fire on residential areas with artillery, and a full day of fighting left two elderly residents dead.
On 8 June 2022, the military forces raided Bo Tae Village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region and killed an 18-year-old civilian named Zayar Khaing. It was reported that he was hiding during the raid, and when the gunfire stopped, he attempted to go back home and was burned to death.
Mizzima News reported that on 8 June 2022, a driver for the World Health Organization named Myo Min Htut was shot dead while he was riding his motorbike to return home after work in Mawlamyine Township, Mon State. The WHO said in a statement that the circumstances of the killing were not yet clear.
Military forces and members of the Pyu Saw Htee paramilitary group raided Thae Taw Village in Yesagyo Township, Magway Region, on 9 June 2022 and killed a 70-year-old civilian, who was reportedly burned to death.
The military murdering civilians in Myinmu Township
Myanmar Now News reported that the military forces opened fire on civilians within Myinmu Township of Sagaing Region on 6 June 2022, after telling around 30 villagers to flee. It was reported that during this incident at least six people were shot dead and those killed included a 16-year-old boy with mental disabilities and one of an indeterminate age. The victims had bullet wounds to their backs, chests and heads.
According to local sources, a military column of around 80 troops entered Kan Phyar Village, 15 km northeast of Myinmu Township in Sagaing Region, and ordered the displaced civilians staying at the Myat Saw Ny Naung Monastery to take them to the nearby village of Pe Ku on their motorbikes. It was reported that when the villagers refused, the military forces searched their motorcycles and then produced a gun, which they claimed to have found hidden under the seat of one of the bikes. After that, the military forces started setting fire to all of the motorbikes, destroying them. Having separated around 30 male civilians from the crowd, the military ordered them to run, and they started firing at the villagers who were fleeing. A villager said that the military gave them 10 seconds to start running and when the villagers ran, they started firing.
The Military charging a former Journalist
Myanmar Now News reported that a court under military control charged a former journalist named Zaw Zaw from Mandalay with incitement for a Facebook post. According to a lawyer, he was charged with incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code during a court appearance inside prison on 8 June 2022. It was reported that he was a photojournalist from the news outlet The Irrawaddy and had been arrested nearly two months ago. He was transferred to Obo Prison in Mandalay after more than a month in the Mandalay Palace Interrogation Centre.
Brutal Crackdowns on Political Prisoners
Credible reports said that brutal crackdowns have been carried out on political prisoners in Obo Prison in Mandalay and Hpa-An Prison in Karen (Kayin) State in the recent weeks.
Myanmar Now News reported that on 5 June 2022, two political prisoners were beaten to death and 13 others were injured during a clash inside Mandalay’s Obo Prison. A lawyer with contacts inside the prison reported that the prison authorities, including the prison superintendent, beat the political prisoners using metal batons. According to prison sources, political detainees are routinely harassed and terrorised.
Irrawaddy News reported that on 6 June 2022, the new warden in Hpa-An Prison beat the political prisoners and called the military forces into the prison. Over 200 political prisoners were beaten and tortured, including with rubber bullets and extreme violence. It was reported that the authorities used sharp bamboo and slingshots with pebbles to stab and harm the political prisoners. Furthermore, the prisoners were denied water and food for the whole day, and they were not permitted medical treatment or family visits. It was also reported that on 8 May 2022 the military forces beat and tortured about 60 political prisoners from Hpa-an, as the prisoners sang revolutionary songs and banged pots. Four political prisoners were seriously injured.
The Military destroying villages in Yesagyo Township
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 9 June 2022, a military column consisting over 200 troops raided Zayatni Village in Yesagyo Township of Magway Region, fired heavy artillery and torched the village. Local villagers said that the villagers fled, yet some remained in their houses, which the military forces burned down and destroyed. It was further reported that the military forces raided and burned down houses in the 400-house Thae Taw Village.
The Military burning down and destroying houses in villages within Salingyi Township
Khit Thit Media reported that on 12 June 2022, the military forces torched the whole village of Lin Sar Kyak in Salingyi Township of Sagaing Region. According to local villagers, the military forces raided Lin Sar Kyak Village, arrested over 100 civilians in the monastery, and set fire to the entire village. After torching the village, the military forces left and moved to another village, but the villagers are scared to return to the village.
On the same day, the military forces raided Maung Htaung Village and burned down four houses. The villagers from Maung Htaung Village and nearby villages are fleeing due to fear and insecurity, as the military forces stayed in these areas and raided nearby villages.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 8 June 2022, the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung met with Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Mrs. Ann Linde. During the meeting, the ministers discussed the cooperation between the two countries, the effort and sacrifices made by the Myanmar people for the establishment of a federal democratic nation, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the terror and atrocities committed by the military. The Swedish Foreign Minister remarked through her Twitter that she stands with and supports the people of Myanmar and their journey to restore democracy.
On 9 June 2022, the Union Minister for Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar H.E. U Aung Myo Min and the representative of the National Unity Government to the Czech Republic U Linn That met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Mr. Jiří Kozák in Czernin Palace, Prague. During the meeting, the two sides discussed matters related to accountability for the military’s crimes and respect for and recognition of international law concerning human rights violations and war crimes as they apply to the current situation in Myanmar. The Union Minister for Human Rights discussed the distressing situation of four political activist leaders, who are imminently facing the death penalty under the military, the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and the challenges faced by human rights defenders amid mass murders and burnings carried out by the military in many states and regions of Myanmar. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic stated that the Czech Republic is paying as close attention to Myanmar as it does to Ukraine, and as part of its foreign policy the country will raise Myanmar affairs at the upcoming UN human rights meeting.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 7 June 2022, the UN human rights experts Mr. Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; Ms. Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression; and Dr. Ana Brian Nougrères, Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy; and Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, condemned the attempts of the Myanmar military to establish a “digital dictatorship” in the country by imposing further restrictions on the access to internet, internet shutdowns, online censorship, surveillance and other barriers to internet access. The UN experts said, “The international community must not stand quietly by while the people of Myanmar are systematically denied their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy, which are guaranteed by international human rights law.”
On 7 June 2022, regarding the military’s reported plans to execute pro-democracy leaders and activists, Canada strongly condemned and opposed the death penalty in all circumstances for all people, everywhere. Canada stated its grave concern for ongoing violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Myanmar, including the right to a fair trial and independence of the judiciary. Canada urged the Myanmar military not to carry out the executions, reiterating the call for the release of those arbitrarily detained and political prisoners.
Likewise, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) urged South-East Asia and the international community to take action and to use every means to prevent the Myanmar military from executing four political prisoners. The APHR Chairperson and Member of Parliament from Malaysia said that these executions would further contribute to preventing the already remote possibility of a sustainable political dialogue, as prescribed over one year ago in the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus. APHR called on each and every member state of ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners to urgently demand the military unconditionally and immediately stay the executions and release the four detainees.
On 8 June 2022, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan, issued a statement on the killing of a staff member of the World Health Organization. The statement mentioned that the UN in Myanmar is deeply saddened by the death of a WHO staff named Mr. Myo Min Htut during a security incident in Mawlamyine Township of Mon State and that he was shot dead while riding his own motorcycle on Thanlwin Uyin Road at around 5 pm on 8 June 2022. The statement said that the exact circumstances of the incident remain unclear. The UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim condemned the killing of the UN staff. He said, “The United Nations appeals to all parties and stakeholders to respect the neutrality of the United Nations and Humanitarians and further calls for all parties to protect the rights and safety of civilians and strongly condemns acts of violence against civilians. The United Nations expects an impartial investigation into the incident and the perpetrators to be held accountable.” Furthermore, he added that the UN continues to stay and deliver essential humanitarian and development support for the people of Myanmar during these difficult times.
In the United Nations daily press briefing on 10 June 2022, Mr. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General mentioned that Secretary-General strongly condemned the attack on 8 June 2022 in Mon State of Myanmar, which led to the killing of a staff member of the World Health Organization (WHO). The Spokesperson said that the Secretary-General expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and called for a full and transparent investigation into the incident and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
On 10 June 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Mr. Thomas Andrews, remarked on his twitter in response to the Myanmar military’s decision to enforce the death sentences, “The price of international inaction rose again in Myanmar when the junta announced it will hang pro-democracy activists while continuing to murder, abduct, and torture people throughout Myanmar. It is past time to step up with strong, coordinated, action.”
Date: 12 June 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York