Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
One year 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 the people suffer with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 11 March 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,652 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 12,617 people have been arrested and 1,973 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Atrocities committed by the military
Killings, Raiding and Torching of villages
On 2 and 3 March 2022, the military forces burned houses in Let-yar Village and Let-pan-hla Village of Pauk Township, destroying over 200 and 50 houses in each village, respectively. On 5 March 2022, the military forces and its allied PyuSawHtee forces burned the houses from Inn-nge-daunt Village of Magway Region.
In the evening of 11 March 2022, in Myit-tha Township, Mandalay Region, the junta forces fired at two motorcyclists who were traveling at the entrance of the township and killed one of them.
On 5 March 2022, at around 1100 pm, junta forces forcibly raided Chaung-Ma Village of Kani Township, Sagaing Region, and set 16 houses on fire.
In the early morning of 6 March 2022, the junta forces forcibly raided Tha-Khut-Chaung Village of Tigyaing Township in Sagaing Region and set 11 houses on fire. There were over 200 households in the village and the whole village temporarily fled when the junta forces raided the village.
On 7 March 2022, the junta forces forcibly raided Oh-Ma-Htan-Taw Village of Salingyi Township in Sagaing Region, and set two houses on fire.
The junta forces raided Si-Hlaung Village of Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region on 7 March 2022. On 8 March 2022, the military stationed in SiHlaung Village and fired heavy artillery against and raided nearby Aung-Chan-Thar, Aung-Chan-Aye, Kan-Thar, and Let-Pan-Taw Villages of the same township. During those shootings and attacks, the military killed 11 villagers and wounded a villager in Let Pan Taw Village and killed 10 villagers in Kan Thar Village. Residents from at least 10 villages have fled into the forests. Moreover, the local news reported that the military forces followed and shot those fleeing villagers and burned the shelters of the displaced persons.
The junta forces and allied PyuSawHtee members raided nearby Hnaw-Yoe Village of Pale Township, Sagaing Region, on 10 March 2022 and set 300 houses on fire.
On the same day, the allied PyuSawHtee forces burned down almost the whole of Zeephyugone Village overnight. It was reported that the junta and PyuSawHtee forces stationed in Zeephyugone Village, and they raided, looted and burned houses in other nearby villages. News reported that PyuSawHtee forces also tortured and killed the local people. During mid-February 2022, they violently raided the Chaung-Oo Village and burned the whole village.
On 2 and 3 March 2022, the military forces arbitrarily abducted at least seven local people in Taunggyi, and no reasons for the abduction has been announced.
On 3 March 2022, during the night time, the junta forces abducted a 16-year-old school girl from Lal-Kaing Village of Maubin Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region, accusing her of supporting People’s Defence Forces. According to the locals, the junta forces have been using different justifications to abduct more than 20 civilians from Maubin Township and within one week of March.
On 7 March 2022, the junta forces abducted a toddy-palm climber from Ban-bway HtanzinTawpyin and didn’t release him until 11 March 2022.
On 8 March 2022, the junta forces abducted Daw Myint Myint Mu, Headmistress of KunSeikMyauk Village in Shwebo Township, Sagaing Region, who joined CDM. According to the locals, although she had participated in some peaceful protests during earlier days, she has been living quietly lately.
Crimes Against Humanity
On 5 March 2022, the junta forces forcibly raided Chuncung Village of Ha Hka Township after fighting with the local Chin Defence Force. They killed a person with mental ill-health from that village whose body was found by other villagers after 11 March 2022 inside the trash bin.
On 8 March 2022, members of junta military and PyuSawHtee forces cruelly raped and killed a woman in In Nge Daunt Village of Pauk Township in Magway Region and shot her 3-years-old son dead.
Also on 8 March 2022, in Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region, the junta forces burned 10 innocent local people including four children together with two houses. Their bodies were later found in the village. In addition, a body of an old lady was found days later. The local villagers said they will keep searching for the news or bodies of the villagers who went missing. The junta forces raided and stationed in Kan-Thar Village on 8 March and raided another village the following day.
On 7 March 2022, the junta’s two jet fighters and two helicopters conducted massive airstrikes against Daw Ngan Khar and Kone Thar Wards of Demoso Township, Kayah State. On 10 March 2022, airstrikes were conducted against the same wards seven times.
The junta forces started its attacks against Pu-Hpar Village of Demoso Township on 7 March 2022. They stationed inside the village and set 30 houses on fire. After being defeated by the KNDF, KA and their alliance group on 9 March, the junta forces burned and destroyed the houses in Pu-Hpar Village and Thesulal Village. Moreover, the properties inside the houses, religious buildings and schools of those villages were stolen daily by the junta forces. On 10 March, the junta’s jet fighter attacked Dawngankhar Ward and Kone-thar Wards seven times. Catholic nunneries and buildings for old people were damaged.
The junta’s three jet fighters conducted massive airstrikes against Saung Du Lar, They Su Le, and Pu Hpar Villages of Demoso Township, Kayah State on 8 March 2022. Those airstrikes were intentionally directed only at the villages since there were no armed conflicts around the area. They destroyed a church and some houses.
Firing artillery indiscriminately
The junta forces fired heavy artillery and forcibly raided Dan-Kone Village of Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, on 5 March 2022, injuring a child and burning 120 houses which was almost the entire village. The forces of around 80 soldiers stationed in Nal-thit-kone Village and shot heavy artillery into Dan-Kone and Hman-taw Villages. They later set fire on the houses in Dan-kone, Hman-taw and Kyun-Lel Villages. Dan-Kone Village is among the areas in Sagaing Region which has been experiencing the internet shutdown. Half of Dan-Kone Village was burned and destroyed, forcing all the local people hide shelter in the forest.
On 6 March 2022, the junta forces fired heavy artillery against Hniar-lawn Village on Falam-Hakha Road, Hakha Township in Chin State, wounding a civilian and damaging two houses.
According to Myanmar Now News Agency, on 8 March 2022, the junta’s No.250 Light Infantry Battalion fired heavy artillery against Le Htwel Village of Loikaw Township, Kayah State and instantly killed three siblings (12-years-old girl and 7 and 10-years-old boys) and seriously wounded two civilians (their father and older sister) who were admitted to Loikaw Township Hospital. According to the local residents, there were no conflicts in those villages, and they believe the artillery was fired by the military.
In the evening of 8 March 2022, the junta’s No. 42 Light Infantry Battalion fired heavy artillery and raided Kan-Hpyu Village of Wetlet Township, Sagaing Region. Due to those bombardments and raids, more than 300 villagers were forced to flee for their safety. Elderly women who could not flee were only left in the village.
On the same day, the nearby Thet-Pay Village of Khin U Township was raided and burned. The local villagers were fleeing into the forest where they have been hiding, and the number of houses burned was unknown since the military forces have not yet left the villages. According to the local news, while the internet in the townships of Sagaing Region was shut down in recent days, the military increased violent attacks against those townships during the period of 3 to 8 March 2022 and burned three villages.
On 7 March 2022, Monday, the KNLA sent a letter to the military warning them to leave the area within three days. On Wednesday, 9 March 2022, the military attacked the area from the air. According to the residents, there was a helicopter that dropped bombs. A KNLA spokesperson said that Myawaddy-Kawkareik Asia Road of Kayin State has been blocked unconditionally starting from 11 March 2022. Since an official announcement hasn’t been made, the local travelers continued using the road. On 11 March 2022, the junta forces used heavy artilleries towards the Kyarinseikgyi and Ywarthit Old Town from Letnetkyigone of Kawkareik Township. There were no known injuries from these shootings.
According to the statement by Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN), the junta’s heavy artillery against Ka-Law-Day Village of Hpapun Township, Kayin State, on 5March 2022, killed seven civilians including 2 and 5-years-old girls and a pregnant woman. The shooting also seriously injured four villagers including a 3-years-old child. The attack was made during night time when the displaced villagers returned to the village to sleep for the night. The junta forces conducted similar attacks in Hpapun Township during January and February 2022. During those attacks, a total of four villagers, including 3-months-old baby and 20-years-old girl, were killed and 11 people injured.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The National Unity Government issued a statement for the “Urgent debate on the situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression”, which was held on 8 March 2022 during the 49th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. In the statement, Myanmar welcomed the urgent debate and the adoption of the corresponding resolution. Myanmar added its voice to the collective condemnation of the unprovoked acts of war directed against Ukraine and its people and stated that those acts were a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and international law. Expansionist aggression has provoked a human rights crisis in the heart of Europe, and its cost will be borne out in civilian lives. The NUG further supported the resolution, including its calls for (1) immediate, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access, including across conflict lines; (2) the swift and verifiable withdrawal of all Russian Federation troops and Russian-backed armed groups from Ukraine territory; and (3) the urgent establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law and to support accountability. It was stated that the political independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and the fundamental and democratic rights of its people are protected by international law and must be defended by the international community. The NUG also welcomed the General Assembly’s adoption of its resolution entitled “Aggression against Ukraine”, which Myanmar cosponsored, as well as the decision of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the Situation in Ukraine. The statement was concluded by the position of Myanmar in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
On 12 March 2022, the National Unity Government issued a document titled “Budget 2021/2022: Protecting the lives and livelihoods of the people of Myanmar”. As the first ever budget document of the NUG, the document is intended to present the world with an assessment of Myanmar’s economy and the military’s inability to stop the unprecedented decline, to provide humanitarian assistances directly by the NUG and through its partners across the country, to support the CDM, to expand access to life-saving assistance to those most impacted by the military’s actions, and to contain the spread of COVID-19, etc. The document explained how Myanmar’s economy has changed after the military’s attempted coup. It also presented the key achievements of the NUG with the support of the people of Myanmar. Moreover, it was stated that the activities prioritized by the NUG for the coming year are (i) to provide humanitarian assistance to those who are engaging in civil disobedience as they continue to prevent the military from consolidating its rule; (ii) to extend support to those who are most harmed by the military’s persecution; and (iii) to mitigate the nationwide risks arising from the military’s continued failure to establish control over the crucial functions of the state. The document further mentioned how the NUG is planning to stand against the military by means of security and defence. In addition, it appealed to the international community to cooperate and support the work of the NUG in responding to the growing needs of the people of Myanmar to manage the worst impacts of the crisis. It was also explained that how the funds will be divided and prioritized in the future.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 7 March 2022, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar issued its Bulletin Issue 6. In the Bulletin, a message from Nicholas Koumjian, the Head of the Mechanism, is included together with the institutional update on the continued activities of the IIMM, how it has reached out to different stakeholders, updates on ongoing legal proceedings related to serious international crimes in Myanmar. In Mr. Koumjian’s message, he explained that since the military deposed the elected government last year, the IIMM has received reports that suggest that more than a thousand individuals have been killed and many thousands detained in circumstances related to the coup. The information collected by the Mechanism strongly suggested that crimes against humanity and war crimes may have been committed, including the crimes of arbitrary detention, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, murder, attacks intentionally directed against the civilian population, etc. He further explained that the Mechanism independently, impartially and professionally investigates the reports it received, and where there is clear and convincing evidence, the Mechanism will prepare files to facilitate criminal trials of the persons responsible. He said that the IIMM thanks the many thousands of persons and organizations that have shared evidence relevant to its investigations of serious international crimes in Myanmar. He also mentioned that the Mechanism is using all possible strategies and innovations to gather and verify evidence that can facilitate prosecutions in national, regional and international courts. The IIMM has been sharing evidence with the Parties in The Gambia v. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, has been cooperating with the International Criminal Court, and will be looking forward to sharing files with other courts that have or may in the future have jurisdiction over these crimes.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, on 8 March 2022, Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar remarked through his twitter that women of Myanmar are playing key leadership roles in the fight for their country while being targeted by the junta forces that have long used gender-based violence as a weapon of war. He added that on International Women’s Day, they should be saluted and thanked for their courage, tenacity and inspiration.
While giving a statement for the same occasion, Sima Bahous, Executive Director at UN Women, said that progress towards a more gender-equal world is being undermined by multiple interlocking and compounding crises, and currently the world is witnessing the horrifying situation in Ukraine where the impacts on women and girls, including the hundreds of thousands displaced, remind us that all conflicts, from Ukraine to Myanmar to Afghanistan, from the Sahel to Yemen, exact their highest price on women and girls. She further added that the Secretary-General has been clear that war must stop.
For this same day, the UN office in Myanmar issued a statement reaffirming its solidarity and commitment to the women and girls across Myanmar. It reiterated its commitment to put women and girls at the centre of its development and humanitarian work in response to the ongoing crises in the country, to ensure that their needs are met, and to support their role and agency in shaping a future path for their country. The statement mentioned how the women of Myanmar have played a key role in the development of their country throughout history. Women have taken the leading role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic or been at the forefront calling for a return to democracy and respect of human rights, while being disproportionally affected by the compounded crises that the country is going through. Of the total of 873,000 IDPs in Myanmar, the majority are women and girls. Both the World Bank and International Labour Organization analyses show that the socio-economic impact of the crisis has disproportionally affected women and girls. According to the ILO, 580,000 women were estimated to have lost their employment in just the first six months of 2021.
In the daily UN press briefing on 10 March 2022, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General updated that the UN colleagues in Myanmar continued to be concerned over the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situations due to stepped up armed clashes in several areas, particularly in the northwest and southeast. He mentioned that the number of internally displaced men, women and children who have been uprooted since the military takeover last February has exceeded half a million, bringing the total number of people internally displaced in Myanmar to 873,000. He said the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan seeks to reach a record 6.2 million people with assistance and requires $826 million. He explained that the UN urges donors to give generously in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, and critical humanitarian needs are continuing to grow while access to people in need remains limited. He said that safe, unconditional, and predictable humanitarian access is needed to address growing needs, especially in conflict areas.
UNOCHA Myanmar has issued Weekly/Regional Humanitarian Snapshot for the period of 8-14 March 2022 for the Asia and Pacific Region. It presented the humanitarian situation and update of the displacements in Myanmar. In the update, it was reported that clashes between the military forces and local People’s Defense Force have escalated creating additional displacements. Airstrikes and heavy artillery in Hpa-pun Township of Kayin State reportedly resulted in casualties and internal displacement. About 700 people from Hpa-pun Township were displaced to Kamarmaung Township and Hlaingbwe Township. An estimated 150 people from Tanintharyi Region has been displaced within Palaw Township. Humanitarian responders continued to make coordinated efforts to reach people in need with critical life-saving assistance and protection services and severely restricted. As of 7 March, a total of 228,900 people remained displaced in southeast Myanmar due to conflict and instability since February 2021. IDPs were taking refuge in Kayah, Kayin, southern Shan, Mon, Tanitharyi and Bago. Nationwide, there are currently 865,700 IDPs, including 370,000 IDPs who were already displaced before February 2021, and 495,300 displaced since the military takeover.
Date: 13 March 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York