Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (15 Jan 2023)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Almost two years 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 13 January 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,734 people, arrested 17,250 people, and 13,495 people remain in detention, whereas 142 people have been sentenced to death, including 100 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.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Attacking villages and brutally murdering civilians in Sagaing Region
News reports stated that in Myaung Township of Sagaing Region, members of the Pyu Saw Htee paramilitary group attacked Pan Nyo Village located on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady River on 7 January 2023. The Pyu Saw Htee set fire the village, and an elderly woman named Khin Kyi (95), who was unable to flee, was killed.
On 9 January 2023, the Phyu Saw Htee conducted arson attacks for more than four hours in the village, destroying at least 100 of the roughly 300 homes in the village.
The AAPP reported that on the morning of 9 January 2023, during a clash between the military forces and local defence forces, the military fired an artillery shell in Tigyaing Township of Sagaing Region. The source said that the artillery shell exploded on a monastery in Htan Kone Village, injuring seven people and killing a civilian named Kyaw Khin.
News reports stated that a military column consisting of 150 troops based in Paungbyin Township and members of the Pyu Saw Htee paramilitary group attacked Tel Pin Village and Shan Kone Village in Kanbalu Township of Sagaing Region on 6 January 2023. During this attack, the military forces took three civilians hostage. The source said that those arrested are Khin Maung Tun (aka Kyet Taw) from Shan Kone Village, and Kyaw Soe Moe (aka Bo Bo) and San Myint Aung (aka Kyet Gaung) from Tel Pin Village. They were reportedly then burned to death, and their bodies were found on 10 and 11 January 2023.
The AAPP reported that the military troops raided Kyar Ta Kan Village in Kyunhla Township of Sagaing Region on 7 January 2023, and they burned alive a civilian named Tun Hla (58), killing him.
On 9 January 2023, the military forces raided Inn Tai Lay Village in Tabayin Township of Sagaing Region, and torched the village. During the raid, a civilian named Wun Mya (85), who could not run away, died in the fire.
Conducting airstrike on the Headquarters of the Chin National Front
Myanmar Now News reported two of the military’s fighter jets bombed the headquarters of the Chin National Front (CNF) at Camp Victoria near the India-Myanmar border on 10 January 2023. The military’s jets struck the site five times at around 4 pm, using highly explosive bombs, one of which landed on Indian soil. The airstrike killed five people and injured many others. The CNF Spokesperson said that the air raid pinpointed 14 targets and the military dropped the bombs on the preselected targets, including a clinic.
At around 4:50 pm of 11 January 2023, three military aircraft reportedly attacked Camp Victoria in a second airstrike, destroying buildings there.
Torching the houses in a Village in Launglon Township
Mizzima News reported that the military troops raided Hinchotaw Village in Launglon Township of Tanintharyi Region on 11 January 2023, and torched the houses of the people in the village without reason at about 5:00 am. The source said that the members of the Pyu Saw Htee group joined the military forces, and they torched the houses in the area, where there was no fighting with resistance forces.
According to a local resident, the military’s arson attack destroyed three houses, four motorcycles and a furniture store, and before leaving the village, the military forces also looted the cell phones of the villagers. The military forces reportedly left Hinchotaw Village and moved on their way to Kyauknimaw Village in Launglon Township.
Firing Heavy Weaponry in Indaw Township
According to AAPP, military troops from the 416 Infantry Battalion indiscriminately fired heavy weaponry into Indaw Township in Sagaing Region on 12 January 2023. It was reported that a farmer named Naing Win, who was planting beans in a field near the road surrounding Indaw Lay Lake, was hit by an exploding shell in his thigh and bled to death. His wife was also injured and is currently receiving medical treatment at Indaw Hospital.
Conducting airstrike in Mutraw District
The Irrawaddy reported that the military forces bombed a village church in Mutraw District of Karen State on 12 January 2023, killing five people, including a child and two pastors. During the afternoon, two of the military’s jets reportedly attacked Lay Wah Village under the control of KNU, forcing hundreds of residents to flee.
It was reported that the military forces clearly targeted the church in their attack. The source said that the attack coincided with the military’s airstrikes on the headquarters of the Chin National Front.
Brutal Murder in Kanbalu Township
RFA Burmese reported that eight civilians, including three children, from the family of a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were killed in Ngar Myaung Village in Kanbalu Township of Sagaing Region on 14 January 2023.
According to the source, the house that was attacked is the village headquarters for the NLD party, and the victims were murdered in the early morning of 14 January. It was said that they were brutally killed by cutting the necks with knives.
Those who were murdered included U Kyaw Hlaing (70), Daw Hla Nyunt (65), Daw Hnin Mya Hlaing (40), U Tin Myo Win (37), Daw Hnin Mya Khine (37) and three children, namely Su Mya San (15), Theint Shwe Bone San (12) and Khant Zeyar Phyo (5). The locals said that the members of the paramilitary Pyu Saw Htee group committed this murder.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 12 January 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued a statement (1/2023) on the events relating to the bombing of the Chin National Front’s Headquarters at Camp Victoria. The statement said that the terrorist military council used its jet fighters to bombard Camp Victoria – the headquarters of Chin National Front – on 10 and 11 January 2023, in which two Chin women and three men were killed and quite a few others were injured, and the medical clinic in the Camp and a civilian household were destroyed. The statement underlined that during the event one bomb was dropped inside Indian territory. It stated that even before this event the terrorist military council has been repeatedly bombing regions in Karen State, Kachin State, Sagaing Division and Magway Division, where innocent lives have been lost. The statement mentioned that the National Unity Government strongly condemns the terrorist military council’s use of air strikes targeting innocent civilians, and it pledges that the NUG will do its utmost to achieve justice by judicial means, national or international, for all those lives lost.
Ambassador H.E. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the Ministerial Level Open Debate of the UN Security Council on “The Rule of Law among Nations”, held on 12 January 2023. The Permanent Representative said that the deteriorating situation in Myanmar shows mounting evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes being committed by the military machine, and the spillover effects of the military violence in Myanmar are now the greatest single source of instability in the region. As the Council has in the past addressed accountability for the violations of serious international crimes, which led to long-term positive impacts on the ground, he underlined that the Council has tools at its disposal to do the same with regard to Myanmar. Expressing gratitude to the Security Council for adoption of the first-ever resolution on the situation in Myanmar, he added that the Security Council now has a unique opportunity to help re-establish the rule of law in Myanmar. The Permanent Representative urged the UN Security Council and the member states to implement the provisions in its resolution, and take the concrete and decisive actions that will prevent further military atrocities and address the pervasive military impunity.
On 13 January 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued a statement (1/2023), warmly welcoming the Establishment of the Office of Special Envoy, which was announced by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia. It stated that the NUG is confident that the Indonesian Foreign Minister H.E. Retno L.P. Marsudi will bring dedication and determination to her role as Head of Office. To further raise the bar of ASEAN’s Myanmar response, the statement underlined that the Minister’s likely appointment of a new Special Envoy should see the role made full-time, and the Office of Special Envoy allocated human and financial resources matched to the mandate’s importance and scope. Through the statement, the National Unity Government extended its full support and cooperation to Indonesia as ASEAN Chair and to Foreign Minister as Head of the Office of Special Envoy.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 11 January 2023, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia Retno Marsudi, representing the ASEAN Chair for 2023, said that she will head an office of Special Envoy established by Indonesia to spearhead how ASEAN deals with the crisis in Myanmar. The Foreign Minister of Indonesia further pledged that as the ASEAN Chair this year, Indonesia would take measures based entirely on the Five-Point Consensus, as well as the fundamental principles in the ASEAN Charter, and Indonesia will engage with all stakeholders.
On 13 January 2023, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the rule of law is at grave risk of becoming “the Rule of Lawlessness,” pointing to a host of unlawful actions across the globe. The UN Secretary-General cited the crisis in Myanmar as an example, noting that the breakdown of the rule of law in Myanmar since the military coup in February 2021 led to “a cycle of violence, repression and severe human rights violations.”
On 12 January 2023, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2023 that the Myanmar military has been responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity since the military coup in February 2021. Asia Director at Human Rights Watch Elaine Pearson said, “ending the Myanmar junta’s widespread abuses needs a global commitment to impose pressure through targeted sanctions and accountability for atrocities. Indonesia as ASEAN chair should take the lead in imposing concrete measures that will curtail the junta’s ability to violate the rights of its citizens.”
Date: 15 January 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York