Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
More than 30 months 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 11 August 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 3,919 people, arrested 24,246 people, and 19,740 people remain in detention, whereas 148 people have been sentenced to death, including 105 post-coup death row prisoners and 43 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.
The illegal military junta extended again the so-called state of emergency on 31 July 2023, aiming to prolong military rule for another six months in Myanmar.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Number of people being killed and arrested from 1 to 10 August 2023
AAPP reported that from 1 to 10 August 2023, 15 civilians in total including 2 women and 13 men have been killed by the junta across the country, of those 15 victims, 11 civilians were killed in detainment. Furthermore, during this period of 10 days in August 2023, the junta arrested 16 civilians in total including 3 women and 13 men across the country, and regarding this data, Yangon Region holds the highest number of arrests with 8 people.
Attacking a village in Ye-U Township
News reported that on 5 August 2023, a junta column consisting of 100 troops attacked Tin Tein Yan Village in Ye-U Township of Sagaing Region. Due to the junta’s attack, over 8,000 local residents from over 20 villages including Shaw Hpyu, Shaw Kone, Zee Kone, Pauk Taw, Htan Taw, Chon Ywar, Myo Gyi, Tin Tein Yan and Ma Gyi Ni Villages had to flee for safety.
Raids and Shelling in Khin-U Township
According to the local reliable sources, on 9 August 2023, the junta troops opened fire with artillery in their attempt to raid Inn Pat Village in Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region. It was reported that the junta’s indiscriminate shelling wounded four civilians including a child, and forced around 8,000 villagers to flee.
The source said that among the four civilians injured, a 10-year-old boy was hit by shrapnel and sustained leg injuries, and all the victims are receiving medical treatment.
Carrying out raids in Budalin Township
According to Myanmar Now News, the junta forces conducted the raids in Budalin Township of Sagaing Region, after the resistance forces have captured the Fire Department’s staff in the Township for helping the junta to target the resistant members.
The source said that in the early morning of 10 August 2023, a junta column consisting of 100 troops based in SaingPyin of Dapayin Township of Sagaing Region attacked the villages located at the north of Budalin Township. This junta column was joined by another column consisting of 70 troops based in Ku Taw Village in western Budalin Township, and the two junta columns converged in Kin San Village, located 20 km north of Budalin.
Due to the raids conducted by the junta columns, hundreds of civilians from Kin San Village and other villages in the area had to flee.
Night-time Airstrike at a village in Sagaing Township
According to the reliable news, a junta fighter jet dropped two bombs within Sagaing Township at 2.15 am on 10 August 2023. The source said that one of two bombs hit a monastery in Ta Laing Village in Sagaing Township of Sagaing Region, where many of displaced people are sheltering and sleeping at the time of the junta’s airstrike attack. The junta’s night-time airstrike killed an infant (8-month-old), his 23-year-old mother, and a 65-year-old woman, and injured 15 other people, and an unknown number of livestock were killed. The people are taking refuge in the village of Ta Laing, as the junta troops entered nearby villages.
It was reported that the junta ground troops arrested some residents of the village who arrived after the airstrike.
Raiding a village in Tanintharyi Township
Mizzima News reported that the junta column consisting of 100 troops entered Maw Tone Village (West) in Tanintharyi Township of Tanintharyi Region on 12 August 2023 and they arrested over 10 local residents and asked questions. Due to the junta’s raid and arrest, over 1,000 local villagers from Maw Tone Village (West) and Maw Tone Village (East) had to flee for their safety.
Arresting the civilians
The Irrawaddy News reported that on 8 August 2023, 7 junta forces in civilian clothes opened fire on the small flash-mob protest commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising held on Pyi Htaung Su Road of Monywa Town of Sagaing Region. When the junta forces opened fire on six young activists participating at the flash-mob protest, three civilians escaped and three civilians were arrested.
According to Myanmar Now News, a civilian named Ms. Nwe Nwe Win, a charity worker, was rearrested by the junta, after she has been released from the Obo Prison in Mandalay earlier of 2023. It was reported that she left her home located in Chanmyathazi Township of Mandalay to donate blood at a local hospital on 9 August 2023, and since that day, her relatives lost contact with her.
Number of civilians sentenced from January to 11 August 2023
According to AAPP, the junta’s courts across the country sentenced 1,031 civilians including 180 women, 849 men and 2 transgender people to serve prison terms under baseless charges during the period from January to 11 August 2023. Of those 1,031 people, 77 civilians (9 women and 68 men) have been sentenced to life imprisonment, while 16 civilians (5 women and 11 men) have been sentenced to the death penalty.
Murdering a pregnant woman in Monywa
According to the reliable news, a group of people entered a house in Htantaw Ward in Monywa Town of Sagaing Region at around 3 pm on 10 August 2023. The group of burglars fired the guns inside the house, resulting in the death of a civilian named Aye Nyein Thu (25), who is a pregnant woman. It was reported that after they have murdered the pregnant woman, the criminals took the victim’s mobile phone and motorbike. This terrible incident shocked the nation.
On 11 August 2023, the Monywa Guardian Force – the local People Defence Force – arrested the group of six people who committed the murder against the pregnant woman. According to the Monywa Guardian Force, the group has apprehended one of the criminals responsible for the heinous crime committed against a pregnant woman. It was reported that the arrested criminal has confessed to his involvement in the murder, and the theft of the victim's mobile phone and motorbike.
According to Chindwin News Agency, the junta's propaganda blames the local anti-junta resistance forces, but the local residents believed that the paramilitary group of Pyu Saw Htee members might be behind the acts of burglars. The source said that the junta has deployed local gangs and criminals to terrorise citizens across the country.
Activities of the National Unity Government
National Unity Government of Myanmar issued “National Unity Government’s message to the 8888 People’s Uprising 35th Anniversary” on 8 August 2023, which marks the 35th Anniversary of 8888 People’s Uprising, which fought for democracy and rejected the one-party dictatorship by the entire nation. It was stated that the people of Myanmar have actively engaged in various revolution movements, including the 8888 people’s uprising, and proved that they are neither bowing to the oppressors nor being passive but have resisted boldly against the dictatorship. National Unity Government of Myanmar delivered this formal message to urge collaborative efforts towards the goal to eliminate all dictatorships and to build a new federal democratic system by participating financially, physically, and mentally on several fronts, including the current financial warfare campaign “Cut out fascist revenue, Build people’s financial power”.
The Ministry of International Cooperation of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a message on the 35th Anniversary of the 8888 Uprising, stating that throughout Myanmar’s the uprising history against the brutal military dictatorship in 1962, 1974, 1988, 1996, 2007, and the ongoing Nationwide Revolution (Spring Revolution of Myanmar: 2021), the brave people of Myanmar have been proved their unshakeable commitment to freedom and federal democracy. It was said that the resolute people of Myanmar have devoted themselves to the noble cause of freedom and federal democracy. The message urged the neighbours, ASEAN, and the international community to sever the ties of the brutal military junta to international financing, weaponry, and legitimacy, and also expressed the appeal for unwavering support in the pursuit of a federal democratic union by the people of Myanmar.
On 8 August 2023, the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a letter to convey congratulations on the 56th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung expressed the particular appreciation to Indonesia as ASEAN Chair in 2023, welcoming the efforts of Indonesia to advance a wide range of priorities under the theme of ASEAN’s consensus agreement and following up implementation plan regarding the resolving of Myanmar’s political crisis. It was said that the National Unity Government encouraged the efforts of ASEAN on principles described in the ASEAN Charter in the effectively having fully and fairly response to stop the escalating levels of violence and the appalling human rights situation caused by the illegal military junta, as well as in the finding the way to help the people of Myanmar especially with the people-centered value of ASEAN.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
At the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly held in Jakarta on 7 August 2023, the Parliamentarians from Southeast Asia called on fellow lawmakers attending the AIAP General Assembly to advocate for concrete actions rooted in human rights principles to ensure a proactive and coordinated response to the worsening Myanmar crisis. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights Board Member and Malaysian member of parliament Wong Chen said that the AIPA General Assembly is an important forum in which lawmakers from across the region can come together and work together on key issues, including the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, the representatives joining the assembly can play a key role in pushing their governments to ensure that the suffering and loss of life in Myanmar is not allowed to go on with impunity.
On 8 August 2023, the Embassy of the United States in Yangon issued that the U.S. remember the 8888 pro-democracy movement, in which millions of people in Myanmar demonstrated for an end to years of isolation, lack of democracy, and economic hardship under military rule on 8 August 1988, as well as the Myanmar people’s decades-long struggle for democracy and peace. It was said that the U.S. joins the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of freedom and calls on the regime to respect the democratic aspirations and human rights of all people.
The Embassy of the United Kingdom in Yangon issued a statement on 8 August 2023 that on the 35th anniversary of the 1988 uprising in Myanmar, the UK honour the determination and bravery of the Myanmar people, as they strive once more to restore democracy. It was said that the UK remain resolute in the support for the aspirations of the Myanmar people for a peaceful, just and democratic future.
On 8 August 2023, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (Mechanism) issued a press release. It stated that according to information collected and analysed by the Mechanism, there is strong evidence that the Myanmar military and its affiliate militias are committing increasingly frequent and brazen war crimes. The press release said that the war crimes include indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks on civilians from aerial bombing, such as the military airstrike in Sagaing in April 2023 that reportedly killed more than 155 people. The press release also stressed that there has also been an increase in the mass executions of civilians and detained combatants, and the large-scale and intentional burning of civilian homes and buildings, resulting in the destruction of entire villages in some cases. It was underlined that in its investigations into the most serious international crimes committed in Myanmar, the Mechanism has collected information from more than 700 sources, including more than 200 eyewitness accounts, and additional evidence such as photographs, videos, audio material, documents, maps, geospatial imagery, social media posts and forensic evidence. The Mechanism is sharing evidence, information, and analytical reports with those working on ongoing cases concerning the Rohingya at the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and in Argentina.
The report of the IIMM on Myanmar (A/HRC/54/19*) is now available online. This is the fifth report submitted by the IIMM to the Human Rights Council pursuant to resolution 39/2 of 27 September 2018. It covers the activities carried out by the Mechanism between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023. The report also stressed that the Mechanism will continue to pursue all available opportunities to strengthen cooperation with Member States, United Nations entities and other stakeholders. The full and meaningful cooperation of Member States, especially those in the Asia-Pacific region, will remain essential to pursuing justice for the people of Myanmar and the stated goals of these States regarding the achievement of sustainable solutions to the escalating violence and conflict in Myanmar.
Date: 13 August 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York