Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
More than two years ago on 1 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 10 March 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 3,120 people, arrested 20,297 people, and 16,432 people remain in detention, whereas 145 people have been sentenced to death, including 103 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 sentenced to death were executed by the military junta in July 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Mass Killing of civilians in Pinlaung Township
News reported that the military forces murdered 22 civilians including three monks at a monastery in Nan Nhane Village in Pinlaung Township of Shan State on 11 March 2023. It was reported that this was another mass killing committed by the military, after they have allegedly murdered 17 civilians in Myinmu Townshp of Sagaing Region earlier on March 2023.
According to the sources and photographs posted online, the bodies of the victims were found scattered near the entrance of the monastery in the village, including several blood-soaked bodies and the bodies with gunshot wounds in their heads and other parts.
A spokesperson of the Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) said that a total of 22 bodies have since been recovered, while another seven are believed to still be at the site, and seven more bodies behind the monastery have not been collected yet.
The AAPP reported that on 8 March 2023, the military forces and the members of the paramilitary Pyu Saw Htee raided and attacked Na Bu Taw Village in Yinmarbin Township of Sagaing Region, and they had been stationed in Bant Bwe Village in Yinmarbin Township. The forces reportedly shot a civilian named Zaw Min, who is a palm tree climber, in his back, killing him. It was said that another civilian named Mya Aye fell from a palm tree due to the indiscriminate gunfire, and he was also killed.
According to the AAPP, the military column raided Nyaung Won Village in Pauk Township of Magway Region on 9 March 2023, and fired heavy weaponry. It was reported that one of the artillery shells exploded on a house, killing two women. The military column was stationed at a monastery in Pyin Chaung Village, Pauk Township.
Raiding villages and killing two children in Khin-U Township
The news reported that on 6 March 2023, the 100 military troops fired heavy weaponry at the displaced villagers seeking refuge in the forest area in the east of Mone Hla Village located on the eastern bank of the Muu River about 20 km northwest of Khin-U Township within Sagaing Region. The source said that the military’s artillery shell shrapnel hit an eight-year-old girl named Su Yadanar Myint in her head, killing her. According to the local residents, the military forces attacked the villages in the area within the townships of Khin-U, Ye-U and Kanbalu. Due to their raids, the residents from a dozen villages have fled.
It was reported that on the day before the eight-year-old girl was killed, another 12-year-old child named Chit Yin Htoo was killed in the eastern Khin-U Township, as the military’s 40mm shell exploded near the village.
Mizzima News reported that the military forces destroyed Kalon Village in Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region on 7 March 2023. The source said that a woman over 90 years of age was killed when she tried to flee, and a child from Monhla Village was hit by an artillery shell fired by the military.
Firing heavy artillery and killing one civilian and another two children in Mon State
News reported that on 5 March 2023, the military forces fired heavy weaponry at Aung Thar Yar Village in Ye Township of Mon State. As a result, artillery shrapnel injured a 78-year-old civilian named Tu Moo in her stomach. It was reported that she was sent to Mawlamyine Hospital, and then she died on 6 March.
Myanmar Now News reported that on 8 March 2023, the military forces fired heavy artillery at a village in Thaton Township of Mon State, killing two children and injuring a mother and her daughter. It was reported that a 13-year-old child named Htate Pyaung was killed instantly when a shell landed on his house in Kyon Mein Village at around 7am, while a 7-year-old child named Win Win Yee died while she was being transferred to a hospital in territory under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU).
Torching the villages in Bago Region
According to Myanmar Now News, the military forces and the members of the paramilitary Pyu Saw Htee attacked the villages of Pu Zun Myaung and Nyaungbingyi, located on the west bank of the Sittaung River in Nyaunglebin and Shwegyin Townships of Bago Region on 8 March 2023. The local sources said that the military forces and pro-military members burned the civilians’ houses and other property, including motorcycles and medical supplies, in several villages in eastern Bago Region.
The AAPP reported that on 5 March 2023, the military forces arrested a civilian named Thaung Tint, a motorboat owner from Pauk Kone Village in Shwegu Township of Kachin State, as he refused to carry rations for them. It was reported that he was detained at the Shwegu police station, while the military group is stationed in Kyauk Ta Lone Village in Shwegu Township.
Chindwin News Agency reported that on 6 March 2023, the military forces arrested a civilian named Zin Mon Mon Phyo, who was working at the local retail shop in Shwebo Town of Sagaing Region. The source said that she was arrested for her Facebook posts, in which she shared a post titled “We will love again after the war is over” on 22 February 2022, and another post from the page of Khin U Local Guerrilla Force on 3 February 2023.
News reports stated that on 6 March 2023, the military forces arrested a National League for Democracy (NLD) member named Mar Mar Aye from Taze Township of Sagaing Region, while she was staying at the house of one of her relatives in Hpar Pyin Village in Hpakant Township of Kachin State. No sources currently know where she is being detained.
Situations during detention
According to the news, a member of National League for Democracy (NLD) named Khin Maung Tint, who was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and lung cancer and who was detained at Yamethin Prison in Mandalay Region, died on 7 March 2023, while he was receiving treatment at Yamethin People’s Hospital. It was reported that he was arrested at Poke Ba Thi Ri Township in Nay Pyi Taw on 17 November 2021, and was sentenced to five years imprisonment under Section 52(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.
Displacement Situation in the South-East of Myanmar
On 8 March 2023, UNHCR issued the displacement overview for the South-East of Myanmar as of 6 March 2023, stating that the total number of IDPs increased significantly, with 17,500 newly displaced people, and the number reached to a total 397,300 IDPs. The overviewed covered the number of IDPs in Bago Region (East), Kayah State, Kayin State, Shan State (South) and Tanintharyi Region.
In Bago Region (East), 14,591 IDPs were displaced within the townships of Kyaukkyi, Nyaunglebin, Shwegyin, and Phyu due to the military reinforcement and indiscriminate shelling by the military forces on 11 and 28 February. Among them, 1,437 IDPs were secondarily displaced in Kyaukkyi and Taungoo Townships.
In Kayah State, 738 IDPs were displaced within the townships of Demoso, Hpruso, and Loikaw Townships due to the armed conflict and indiscriminate shelling on 23 and 24 January. Among them, 662 IDPs were secondarily displaced in Demoso and Loikaw Townships.
In Kayin State, 33 IDPs from Hpapun and Kawkareik Townships were displaced due to clashes on 11 and 28 February, and of those displaced, 25 IDPs were secondarily displaced in Kawkareik Township.
In Shan State (South), 2,804 IDPs were displaced from the border areas between Pekon and Pinlaung Townships due to fighting on 24 and 26 February.
In Tanintharyi Region, 2,150 IDPs from Palaw Township were displaced within the same Township; among them, 150 IDPs were secondarily displaced.
The UNHCR displacement overview as of 6 March added that 595 people were displaced to Thailand, and of those, 495 were displaced to Tak and 100 to Ranong. It said that separately, 600 IDPs returned to their places of origin in February.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 6 March 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar issued a statement on the Massive Fire at the Camp 11 in Cox's Bazar, extending its deepest sympathy and solidarity to the Rohingya families affected. The statement said that the NUG will be coordinating with UNHCR, international partners, and local Rohingya organizations to extend assistance to the affected families. While responding to the short-term needs of the Rohingya refugees, the NUG recognized the need for a long-term solution to end their suffering and facilitate their safe and sustainable return to their homeland in Myanmar. However, the statement said that the only way to realize a long-term political solution is to eliminate military dictatorship, restore stability and democratic civilian rule in Myanmar. In the statement, the NUG reiterated its commitment to implementing its Policy Position on the Rohingya in Rakhine State, published on June 3, 2021, as an integral part of the roadmap to building an inclusive and people-centered federal democratic union.
On 6 March 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued a statement on the recent massacre of 17 people in Tar Taing Village, Myinmu in Sagaing Region perpetrated by the military, strongly condemning crimes against humanity committed by the military. The statement said that the NUG takes seriously the obligation to seek justice, and the relevant ministries are collecting information about all the crimes committed by the terrorist army, including mass killings, war crimes, targeted attacks, killings of civilians, looting, and destruction of people's livelihoods and property. It was added that the witness statements and material evidence are being collected and have been submitted to international litigation organizations. In the statement, the NUG further requested the International Criminal Court to expand its current investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar to cover all Myanmar territory, and urged the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) to identify national jurisdictions to support prosecutions under the exercise of universal jurisdiction and to expedite the preparation of case files to this end. The NUG also called on countries and international bodies to expand sanctions against the illegal military junta and its associates, as well as the coordination and support.
On 6 March 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a closing remark at the Side-event of the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women: Using Technology to Promote Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Myanmar. The Permanent Representative said that the living conditions of ordinary women and girls are currently worrisome, and human rights women activists are also struggling from insecure settings due to the lawless acts of the military junta. He stated that even at this difficult and high-risk setting, women and girls human rights defenders are still playing important roles to record atrocities committed by the military junta and disseminate them to relevant international organizations. He underlined that the only solution for Myanmar to attain anticipated fruitful development is to eliminate the military dictatorship, calling on the international community to take immediate and decisive actions now. At this closing remarks, the permanent Representative concluded by saluting again the brave Myanmar women and girls especially women human rights defenders for their continued efforts towards the betterment of the country and the people.
On 7 March 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the open debate of UNSC on Women, Peace and Security: Towards the 25th Anniversary of Resolution 1325. The Permanent Representative said that following the illegal military coup in Myanmar, the military has killed many women protesters, including women human rights defenders, and thousands of women activists have been arbitrarily arrested and have suffered abuse and ill-treatment during detention. He also underlined that women and girls are forefront in this people’s resistance against the military junta, playing various important roles and one role is that women human rights defenders record the military junta’s atrocities and disseminate them to relevant international organizations by using digital devices. The Permanent Representative stated that the Myanmar people are committed to creating a peaceful place for everyone including women and girls, and the National Unity Government of Myanmar, in line with the Federal Democracy Charter, took a people-centered approach to advance the WPS agenda through civic actors. The Permanent Representative appealed the Security Council to use all tools at its disposals to take decisive actions to meet the Myanmar people’s aspiration, so as to create a civic space conducive to the meaningful participation and contribution of women in peace and security sectors in Myanmar.
On 7 March 2023, the Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar welcomes the interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Myanmar at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as OHCHR’s corresponding report on the ‘Situation of human rights in Myanmar since 1 February 2022’. The High Commissioner was blunt in telling the Human Rights Council that “the disregard and contempt for human life and human rights that are continuously demonstrated by the military constitute an outrage to the conscience of humanity.” OHCHR has also delivered a strong report on the ‘catastrophic’ human rights situation in Myanmar and the illegal military junta’s grave human rights violations and probable crimes against humanity and war crimes. It was stated that OHCHR’s report catalogues some of the constructive actions taken by the National Unity Government consistent with Myanmar’s international obligations. The Ministry of Human Rights said that on behalf of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the National Unity Government will continue to serve in accordance with the democratic will of the people as expressed in 2020 and consistent with Myanmar’s international obligations, strengthening the partnerships with UN Member States to translate recent international momentum on Myanmar.
Recommendations of Progressive Voice
On 10 March 2023, Progressive Voice issued a statement that following the military coup in Myanmar, the military has committed widespread human rights violations and atrocity crimes, massacring innocent civilians, bombing and burning villages, engaging in unlawful arrests, torture, beatings, and sexual violence, as well as systematically cut off access to basic freedoms and essential supplies, including much needed humanitarian aid. At least 3,120 people have been killed by the junta, while 145 people have been sentenced to death, 20,297 have been arrested, including 549 children, over 55,000 homes have been burned down. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), over 1.3 million people have been internally displaced, whereas another 51,300 have fled to neighboring countries.
Progressive Voice called on the UN Security Council to immediately adopt an additional UNSC resolution that invokes Chapter VII of the UN Charter and enacts the measures, particularly to impose a comprehensive coordinated global arms embargo on Myanmar; to impose targeted sanctions against the Myanmar military, its businesses, arms dealers and partners, including aviation fuel and oil and gas revenues that fuel Myanmar military junta’s atrocity crimes, and to refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or establish an ad hoc tribunal.
Progressive Voice urged the international community to recognize the failings of the current ASEAN Five-Point Consensus in responding to the crisis in Myanmar; and develop a concrete, timebound plan of action that prioritizes the responsibilities and authority of the UN to move toward an end to the conflict and violence, and the lack of accountability. The international community are asked to welcome the declaration lodged by the National Unity Government (NUG), to urge Myanmar's neighboring countries to protect the rights of refugees from Myanmar, to ensure that the provision of humanitarian aid does not legitimize and enable the military junta to further weaponize humanitarian aid in its campaign of terror, and to denounce the illegal junta’s plan to hold elections and reject potential voting results as illegitimate.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
The Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Myanmar on 6 March 2023. At the dialogue, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Volker Türk said that as Myanmar entered the third year of the crisis generated by military rule, its people continued to suffer profound human rights harms; an expanding humanitarian emergency; continuing impunity of the military authorities; and a deepening economic crisis. According to the latest report, he said that thousands were detained, hundreds of houses were burned, and dozens of people including children were killed by shelling and military raids. To address the concerns in Myanmar, he called on Human Rights Council members to do their utmost to deliver humanitarian support directly to the people of Myanmar, and he called on all UN member states to promote dialogue and sustainable solutions that are representative of the will of the Myanmar people in order to bring an end to the brutal crisis in Myanmar.
At the interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Myanmar on 6 March 2023, the speakers said that since the military coup on 1 February 2021, the military had brought Myanmar into a perpetual human rights crisis through continuous human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to international crimes.The international community was urged to apply stronger pressure on Myanmar, and to stand together to demand an end to the violence and seek a peaceful reconciliation to the crisis, and one speaker said that the Security Council should refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court without delay.
At the United Nations press briefing on 8 March 2023, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Farhan Haq said in response to the recent reported killings in Myanmar that the Secretary-General condemns the brutal attacks and killings reported in Sagaing Region and other parts of the country, and is deeply concerned about the continued escalation of indiscriminate attacks by Myanmar’s Armed Forces. The Secretary-General calls for those responsible to be held accountable, and on all parties, to adhere to international humanitarian law and international human rights standards.
According to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Thomas H. Andrews published on 9 March 2023, the humanitarian and human rights crisis in Myanmar has had a destabilizing effect on the region. It underlined that countries and communities hosting refugees from Myanmar deserve credit for offering shelter and support, but the international community’s treatment of those fleeing Myanmar has been wholly inadequate. The report said that Myanmar nationals in neighbouring countries enjoy few legal protections and face the risk of arrest, detention, deportation, pushbacks at land and sea, and obstruction of their access to UNHCR, refugee status determination, and resettlement. In this report, the Special Rapporteur calls on Member States to fulfil their obligations toward people from Myanmar by offering shelter and support, refraining from acts that endanger their human rights, and working towards durable solutions for refugees and other Myanmar nationals outside their country.
Date: 12 March 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York