Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
About one year and nine months ago on 1st 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 November 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,444 people, arrested 16,156 people, and 12,942 people remain in detention, whereas 128 people have been sentenced to death, including 86 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 given to death sentence were executed by the military junta in July 2022. At least 786 houses and buildings have been sealed off by the military between February 2021 and October 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Killing Innocent Civilians
AAPP reported that on 6 November 2022, the military forces and pro-military members fired heavy weaponry in Wat Poke Village of Myaing Township of Magway Region, where they were stationed. That weaponry hit a house in the village of Chaung Oo To, killing a 60-year-old civilian named Kyee Sein on the spot, and his wife Sein Sint lost her leg.
On 7 November 2022, the military forces fired heavy weaponry into Shein Ma Kar Village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region, and struck a house in the village. It is reported that the explosion killed a woman, and her three family members were injured.
In the morning of 10 November 2022, the military forces fired heavy weaponry and launched an air strike in the area of Sin Inn Gyi Village in Ponnagyun Township of Rakhine State, after the military’s supply truck was hit by a mine from the Arakan Army (AA) between Paday Thar Bin Village and Sin Inn Gyi Village. In the evening of the same day, it was reported that the military forces entered the Sin Inn Gyi Village and shot nine locals to death. The local villagers had to flee and sought refuge in a monastery, while some remained in the village to watch over their houses.
Myanmar Now News reported on 10 November 2022 that a civilian named That Zin Oo (age 37) was arrested by the military forces on 29 October 2022 in Twante Township in Yangon Region, and a week after the arrest he was reported dead. The source said that he had been one of eight people arrested by the military forces during a raid to find anti-military fighters in Myago Village. He was reportedly brutally and badly beaten while in custody and was tortured until his teeth had been knocked out. It was also reported that a relative of the victim was informed of his death, but the family did not get his body back.
Extorting Money and Murdering Civilians in Natogyi Twonship
Myanmar Now News reported that the military forces murdered four detained civilians from Natogyi Township of Mandalay Region during the first week of November 2022, after they extorted money from the families of those detainees. It was reported that the military forces in four military trucks and two civilian vehicles checked and arrested four civilians, namely Than Myint Swe (50), Aye Myat Mon (aka. Me Be Eu, 40), Saw Shwe (unknown age), and a 25-year-old man, as they were accused as being unregistered overnight guests on the evening of 3 November 2022. The military forces extorted money from the families of the four civilians who were detained, and they accepted the money from the families for their negotiated release. However, it was reported that the military then murdered the four civilians, even after they accepted the money. It was discovered that their bodies have been dumped at two sites outside of Natogyi Township.
Murdering people and mutilating the bodies within Monywa Township
According to Myanmar Now News, a military column consisting of 150 troops and members of the para-military group “Pyu Saw Htee” raided the villages along the eastern shore of the Chindwin River within Monywa Township of Sagaing Region on 3 November 2022, displacing the locals. In the following days, eight bases belonging to the local resistance fighters were reportedly targeted and destroyed. During the raids and attacks, 15 people were taken as hostages.
Of those taken as hostage, 12 people were reportedly found dead on a farm to the west of Htan Lay Pin, after the military troops had left the area. It was further discovered on 7 November 2022 that the bodies of the people were mutilated. The PDF member of Monywa said that the victims included both civilians and resistance fighters, while four of the bodies had been disfigured.
Torching the houses and killing two civilians in a Village of Myingyan Township
The Irrawaddy reported that on 8 November 2022, the military troops burned down at least 200 houses in Pyar Ywar Village in Myingyan Township of Mandalay Region, resulting in the dead of two people and displacing around 5,000 villagers.
A local resident said that of the villagers who fled to nearby forests, a villager named Zaw Myo Naing (33) returned to the village for his bull on 9 November 2022, and then the military forces shot him dead. It was reported that the victim was a father of four children, and his 75-year old mother had suffered a stroke and died in an arson attack.
Firing heavy artillery in Pekon Township
Mizzima News reported that the military forces based in Pekon Township of Shan State indiscriminately fired heavy artillery and two shells on 9 November 2022, damaging a house and injuring three people.
It was reported that the shells fired by the military hit a house in La-Ei Village in Pekon Township at the night of 9 November. A local resident said that at the time of the explosion on the house, the owners of the house were farming away from the house, but three people near that house were injured, and one of them was seriously affected. It was also reported that the one who was seriously injured is a 56-year-old man named U Kai, while the other two injured were 81-year-old villager Mu Htaunt and 44-year-old villager Mumar Tha.
Raiding villages and destroying houses within Mingin Township
News reported that the military forces raided the villages within Mingin Township of Sagaing Region during the second week of November 2022. The military troops and the members of the para-military group Pyu Saw Htee torched nearly 30 houses in the area of Kone Maw Village, and then they burned down 14 more buildings in Kyauk Maw Village, one-quarter mile from Kone Maw.
It was reported that during the military’s attack in the area of Kone Maw Village, a 55-year-old local villager named Htay Lin was killed in Taung Dwin Chaung area on 8 November 2022, and the victim had an intellectual disability.
It was also said that the military forces fired heavy artillery. Furthermore, they looted a number of houses, and then they ransacked the village and took everything that was valuable.
Activities of the National Unity Government
At the Asia Democracy Assembly held on 7 and 8 November 2022 at Indonesia, the Union Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar delivered a statement, and over 150 organizations from Southeast Asia, South Asia and Asia Pacific participated at the Asia Democracy Assembly.
On 9 November 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement (18/2022), welcoming the new round of sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the United States on 8 November 2022 against the illegal military junta and its cronies. The statement said that the new measures send a strong message of support to the people of Myanmar and the National Unity Government as their legitimate representative on the second anniversary of the free and fair general elections of Myanmar, and they also send a sharp signal to the illegal military that its appalling atrocities will be met with escalating action. Through the statement, the National Unity Government extends its gratitude to the EU and the United States for their international leadership and for their sustained commitment to the people of Myanmar.
On 11 November 2022, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered an Explanation of Vote regarding the draft resolution A/C.3/77/L.44/Rev.1 “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty” at the Third Committee of the 77th Session of the UN General Assembly, and Myanmar voted in favour of the resolution. This resolution was approved by vote of 126 in favour to 37 against, with 24 abstentions.
In the Explanation of Vote, the Permanent Representative said that in Myanmar, although death penalty has not officially abolished from the penal code, a de-facto moratorium was in place for nearly four decades. He stressed that in July this year, the military executed four democracy advocates – Ko Phyo Zeya Thaw, Ko Jimmy, Ko Hla Myo Aung, and Ko Aung Thura Zaw – and these executions clearly amount to arbitrary deprivation of lives, as well as it providing another example of the military’s atrocious human rights record. He added that there are 126 death sentences imposed by the illegal military tribunals since the coup, in which 42 of them were imposed in absentia, and 84 people are now on death row subject to the lawless killings by the military junta. It was further explained that there are several cases where detainees were disappeared and tortured to death in interrogation centers, and civilians were burnt alive during raids on villages and killed during the bloody crackdown on nationwide protests over last 21 months, in which the illegal military has been blatantly committing violations of all human rights, including the right to life.
On 12 November 2022, the President’s Office of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement, noting the ASEAN Leaders’ Review and Decision on the Implementation of the Five-Point Consensus’ at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in Cambodia. Through the statement, the National Unity Government agrees that the lack of progress on Five-Point Consensus (5PC) implementation requires that other options be explored, and the 5PC is ill-fit for purpose and must be reframed or expanded, with engagement with the National Unity Government built in, before an implementation plan and useful indicators can be developed. It stated that the National Unity Government stands ready to work with ASEAN Foreign Ministers and the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar to shape this process, as well as being ready to partner with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the AHA Centre to deliver humanitarian assistance to all Myanmar communities in need using flexible approaches. The statement mentioned that the National Unity Government welcomes the ASEAN Leaders’ calls for UN support, for junta restraint, and for accountability, and further added that decisive Security Council action on Myanmar would be complementary to and reinforcing of ASEAN’s efforts.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 7 November, Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State of the U.S. Department of State issued a press release. It stated that on the second anniversary of the 2020 Myanmar elections, the United States holds firm the commitment to stand with those promoting peace, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and multiparty, inclusive democratic governance in Myanmar. It also underlined that the U.S. will continue to support the pro-democracy movement, including the NUG, the National Unity Consultative Council, and ethnic minority groups, including Rohingya, as they work to restore the democratic path in the country. The U.S. also shares the convictions that the regime’s planned sham “elections,” which could not possibly be free and fair in the current context, will only fuel more violence, prolong the crisis, and defer the country’s transition to democracy and stability. The press release added that the U.S. urges the international community to deny the military and its so-called “elections” credibility and instead meaningfully engage with pro-democracy leaders who uphold a vision for an inclusive and prosperous Myanmar.
On the same day, the Embassy of France in Myanmar issued a statement that France reiterates its calls to respect of the will of the Myanmar people, for the release of all those detained following the military coup for political reasons and for the restoration of the civilian and democratic order. In the following day, the Canada Embassy in Myanmar issued a statement on the second anniversary of the November Election of Myanmar 2022 that Canada reiterates its staunch support of the democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar and will continue to advance the efforts of those who work peacefully to promote a peaceful, inclusive and democratic future. Also, Canada continues to call for the cessation of violence, for the respect for international human rights and humanitarian law obligations, and for the release of those arbitrarily detained.
In response to the military’s brutal campaign of violence against the people of Myanmar including the lethal air strikes and the military’s deadliest aerial bombings on 23 October 2022, the Secretary of State of the U.S. Department of State issued a press release on 8 November 2022. It stated that the U.S. stands with the people of Myanmar in the face of the military’s increasingly brazen attempts to terrorize and intimidate the people and to suppress the people’s aspirations for democracy. It said that the on 8 November 2022, the U.S. takes additional actions against those who enable the military’s violence, and the Department of the Treasury is designating Sky Aviator Company Limited and its owner and director, Kyaw Min Oo, pursuant to Executive Order 14014, for operating in the defense sector of the Burmese economy. The press release added that the U.S. will continue to work with the partners to promote justice and accountability for the military regime’s human rights abuses and deprive the regime of the revenue and resources it uses to commit atrocities against the people of Burma.
On 8 November 2022, in response to the continuing escalation of violence and grave human rights violations following the military coup in Myanmar, the Council of the European Union adopted a fifth round of restrictive measures on 8 November 2022, targeting 19 persons and one entity, including the Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations Kan Zaw, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Htun Htun Oo, high-ranking members of the Myanmar Armed Forces and Air Force, the members of the Union Election Commission, and business representatives of private companies closely connected and providing support to the military, as well as the State Administration Council. It stated that the EU will continue to strive to bring to justice to all those responsible for the human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed following the military coup in Myanmar, and the EU reiterates the calls for an immediate cessation of all hostilities, respect of international humanitarian law, and an end to the disproportionate use of force.
On 11 November 2022, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres delivered an opening remark to the twelfth Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-United Nations Summit, in Phnom Penh. He stated that the political, security, human rights and humanitarian situation in Myanmar is sliding ever deeper into catastrophe, and he condemned the escalating levels of violence, the disproportionate use of force, and the appalling human rights situation in Myanmar. He added that indiscriminate attacks on civilians may constitute war crimes under international law. The Secretary-General repeated his call on the Myanmar authorities to release all political prisoners and launch an inclusive process immediately to return to the democratic transition, while he welcomed ASEAN’s principled approach through the Five-Point Consensus and urged all countries, including ASEAN members, to seek a unified strategy towards Myanmar, centred on the needs and aspirations of Myanmar’s people. He also reiterated the need for urgent action by the Myanmar authorities to create conditions for the voluntary return of almost 1 million Rohingya refugees.
Date: 13 November 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York