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Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (18 December 2022)


Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar


(18-12-2022)


Over twenty-three months ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the civilian government, and unlawfully and unjustly 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 16 December 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,611 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 16,562 people have been arrested and a total of 139 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 97 (including two children) are detained 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.


Atrocities committed by the military


Raiding, Killing and Torching in Sagaing Region


According to news reports, between 11 and 13 December 2022, more than 100 junta soldiers, from Light Infantry Battalion 363, stationed in Koe Taung Bot, Kanbalu Township, and from Light Infantry Battalion 369, stationed in Chat Thin Area, carried out a series of raids on five villages in Kawlin Township, Sagaing Region, where they killed at least six people and torched hundreds of houses. On 11 December 2022, Zee Phyu Kone Village was first attacked, with the junta forces burning down 42 houses there. On 12 December 2022, the junta troop moved to nearby Shaw Phyu Kone Village, where they shot and killed one man named Maung Myint who attempted to flee. After the junta forces left Shaw Phyu Kone Village, they briefly clashed with local defence teams and members of the People’s Defence Force before reaching Pay Pin Chaung Village. According to a defence team member from Shaw Phyu Kone, the junta soldiers captured Kan Min Soe, Ae Maung, Naing Win Tun, and Thein Aung, members of Pay Pin Chaung’s defence team who were trying to resist the junta column’s assault, and brutally murdered them. Another villager, Myint Soe was also shot dead. On 13 December 2022, the junta troops moved forward and raided Kokkokone and Nyaung Kone Villages, where they torched and destroyed a total of more than 100 homes.


Killing Innocent Civilians and Persons in Custody

According to the news report, on 8 December 2022, the junta soldiers from Light Infantry Battalion 415 killed an elderly, displaced villager in Zee Thaung Village, Htigyaing Township, Sagaing Region. The soldiers carried out an arson attack in the village and burned down at least 100 houses. After those attacks, as they were leaving Zee Thaung Village, they met 87-year-old Sein Maung, who was helping to bring supplies to other internally displaced persons (IDPs) and killed him by shooting at a close range. Reportedly, the military stole 450,000 kyat from his body, which they later dumped on a pile of chaff on the side of the road. The body was later found and cremated by the residents who returned to the village after the military left.

According to news reports, the junta troops captured, tortured and killed five people, including two guerrilla fighters, in Ayadaw Township, Sagaing Region, on 11 December 2022. A spokesperson for the township’s anti-junta People’s Administration Team said that the first two victims: 24-year-old Zaw Myo (aka Nyo Lone) and 39-year-old Aung Min Tar (aka Aung Myitar) were village defence force members who were caught trying to plant explosives between Kyauk Sayit Kan and Wah Yaung Villages. He added that there were signs of torture on the bodies of both men, such as knife slash marks, before they were shot dead at close range. After reaching Wah Yaung Village, the junta soldiers torched several huts and abducted three more men as hostages before leaving for Kyauk Pyauk Village, known as a stronghold of the military-backed Pyu Saw Htee militia. The bodies of those hostages, with knife cuts all over them, were found near the village two days later. The victims were identified as Thingyan Maung Maung, 19, Moe Aung, 30, and Min Min Aung, 33. Reportedly, the junta column returned to Ayadaw Township after leaving Kyauk Pyauk Village.


According to news reports, on 13 December 2022, around 60 junta soldiers raided Ywar Thit Village in Myingyan Township, Mandalay Region, and searched for five individuals named on a list. After they found 20-year-old Aung Zeyar Phyo, one of the men they were looking for, they tortured him until he named five others who were also subsequently arrested and all taken into custody. The others were identified as Aung Than Kyaw, Min Thu, and Kaung Kaung, who were all 20 years old, and Zaw Naing Win and Aung Naing Win, both in their 40s. On the next day, 14 December 2022, the bodies of those six men were discovered in three different locations. The bodies of Aung Naing Win and Zaw Naing Win were reportedly found west of Ywar Gyi Village and the other four were discovered the same day in two other places. The junta troops that captured and killed the six men also burned down the houses of the four individuals that they were unable to find.

News reported that on 16 December 2022, five-year-old Htet Bhone Naing and seven-month-old Hein Thura Kyaw were killed by the military junta’s unexploded in Yin Paung Taing Village, Yinmarbin Township, Sagaing Region.

Arresting Innocent Civilians


On 7 December 2022, Min Paing and Aung Min Oo of Sa Laung Kya Village, Hlaine Bhone Village Tract in Mawlamyinegyun Township, Ayeyarwady Region, were detained by military junta troops for allegedly supporting the PDF.


On 10 December 2022, the military junta arrested around 20 people in Paung Township, Mon State, after two junta police officers: Ko Ko and Khine Zaw Htun, stationed in Oke Ta Dar Village were shot and killed earlier that day. The assault was done by unidentified gunmen while riding a motorcycle near the neighbouring Hpalat Village, which is located two-and-a-half miles from Oke Ta Dar Village. Myanmar army soldiers continued to indiscriminately arrest the youths in Oke Ta Dar. At the time of reporting, both the exact number of people detained was unknown, and their whereabouts were unknown. According to the locals, Oke Ta Dar Village was a known stronghold of the “National League for Democracy” political party and it remains as one of the villages in Paung Township where the junta has been unable to install its own administrator.

Torturing the detainees in the prison

According to news, a political detainee, 40-year-old Win Htut Oo, has suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and other injuries after being beaten for insulting the warden of Yangon’s Insein Prison on 6 December 2022. He was accused of shouting “Nyi Lay!” (translation: “little brother”) when the warden passed to offer food to detained Buddhist monks in memory of another monk who died behind bars. Win Htut Oo is currently serving a six-year sentence on incitement and weapons charges. After he allegedly admitted to the offence, he was taken to Warden’s Office to meet with him, where he was subjected to another beating. He was then taken away for Covid-19 testing and placed in an isolation cell, where he was assaulted a third time, including with a taser being used on his body and shoved into his mouth. Reportedly, Win Htut Oo was beaten to a pulp by a crowd and was unable to scream. Afterwards, he was transferred to the prison hospital to receive treatment for a broken arm and severe head injuries. His condition was unknown at the time of reporting.


Airstrikes and heavy artillery targeting civilian areas


When junta forces launched a series of aerial and ground attacks against the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State’s Namhsan Township in second week of December, several homes were destroyed and many residents were forced to flee. The TNLA spokesperson Maj Tar Aik Kyaw told Myanmar Now news media that the assaults targeted a TNLA base located near Kone Thar Village, Namhsan Town, Shan State, began in the afternoon of 7 December 2022. During the three days of those attacks, the junta reportedly sent in more than 100 reinforcement troops by helicopter. Artillery shells fired by the junta’s forces landed in Kone Thar, causing fires to break out that destroyed multiple homes. According to the administrator of one of the villages, more than 1,000 civilians, including residents of Kone Thar Village and the neighbouring communities of Man Long, Ping Long and Hu Man, fled the fighting, except a few residents who stayed behind to look after the valuables and a few elderly people in some villages. He also said that the displaced locals were avoiding travelling along the main roads and had fled to the forests since they are afraid of encountering the junta forces.

Charges against anti-junta activists and members of the NLD party


At the end of November, Zin Min Htet and Myo Thit Kyaw, two student union members, were each sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law by the court inside Kale Prison. Zin Min Htet is a member of Kale University Students’ Union, whereas Myo Thit Kyaw is a member of the University of Computer Studies Student Union. Myo Thit Kyaw was arrested at a checkpoint of the Kale Regional Operations Command and Zin Min Htet was arrested in San Myot Ward, Kale Township on 15 May 2021.


On 2 December 2022, Sue Sha Shin Thant, a LGBT activist and trans-woman, was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law and two years imprisonment under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code. She was sentenced by the court set-up inside Obo Prison. Sue Sha Shin Thant was arrested by the junta soldiers on 2 October 2021. It was additional charges to her previous three years imprisonment under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code in early 2022.


According to news reports, on 9 December 2022, Aye Aye Min and her husband were each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code by the court inside Insein Prison. They were forcibly detained by the junta in Ward 6, South Okkalapa Township, Yangon Region, on the night of 4 July 2022.


On the same day, 9 December 2022, journalist Sithu Aung Myint, currently held in Insein Prison, was sentenced to an additional seven years’ imprisonment with a fine of 10,000 Kyats. He was charged and sentenced under Section 124(a) of the Penal Code by the Botahtaung District Special Court, inside Insein Prison. It was additional to his previous five years’ imprisonment for two charges under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code.


On 12 December 2022, Kyaw Zaya, a Regional Hluttaw MP for Pyay Township, was sentenced a total of nine years’ imprisonment under multiple charges by the court inside Pyay Prison. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, one year imprisonment under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law and six years’ imprisonment under (two separate charges of) Section 505(A) of the Penal Code. Kyaw Zaya was arrested in June 2022 and had previously been sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment.


According to news, on 12 December 2022, a 78-year-old former political prisoner Shwe Htoo, a 57-year-old Sein Linn, and a 40-year-old Banyar, were each sentenced by Pyinoolwin District Court to serve seventeen years in prison. The three were detained by the junta on 29 April 2022, at a plantation in A Nee Sa Khan Ward, Pyinoolwin Town and sentenced under two charges of Counter-Terrorism Law.


On 13 December 2022 Bo Bo Nge, a deputy chairman of the Central Bank, was sentenced to twenty years’ imprisonment by the prison court, under two charges of the Counter-Terrorism Law. He was sentenced to eight years’ and twelve years’ imprisonment respectively. He was arrested by the junta on 1 February 2021 and prosecuted under the Counter-Terrorism Law in Pha Yar Kone Myoma Police Station, Nay Pyi Taw on 10 May 2022.


Activities of the National Unity Government


On 12 December 2022, the National Unity Government issued Weekly Newsletter No. 33/2022, which contained articles relating to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included the opinion piece of the Acting President titled “Federal Democracy, not military rule, is Myanmar’s future” published in The Jakarta Post; the announcement of the Central Committee for Counter-Terrorism determining that Myanma Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation are designated and proscribed as terrorist groups; and the announcement of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation considering issuing/renewing license null and void.


On 14 December 2022, the National Unity Government issued Announcement (13/2022) regarding the appointment of spokespersons of the National Unity Government. In the announcement, the NUG replaced the previously appointed spokespersons with U Kyaw Zaw from President Office and U Nay Phone Latt from Prime Minister Office. The NUG informed that the spokesperson of the President Office will focus on discussing the activities of the Acting President, his office and the policies of the government and the spokesperson of the Prime Minister Office will focus to discuss activities of the cabinet including the Prime Minister, policies of the government and other relevant information.


On 16 December 2022, the National Unity Government issued Announcement No. (20/2022) regarding the Statement of Acting President Duwa Lashi La on Passage by the US Congress of the Burma Act. In the announcement, the National Unity Government (NUG) and the pro-democracy forces of Myanmar applauded the passage of the Burma Act by the US Congress. The NUG stressed that the NUG and the people look forward to President Biden soon signing it into law. It underlined that the law authorizes greater humanitarian assistance for the people of Myanmar; technical support and non-lethal assistance to Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) and People’s Defence Forces (PDFs); and to support programs for former members of the military. It also mentioned that the law authorizes support for the establishment and operation of transitional justice mechanisms. The legislation will promote steps to increase pressure on the military, including at the UN.

On 16 December 2022, the Ministry of Human Rights of the NUG released a statement on the situation of Rohingya Refugees. In the statement, it expressed its grave concern at the dire situation of the Rohingya refugees currently stranded at sea and recently forcibly returned to Myanmar. It stated that at least three boats carrying Rohingya refugees had left Bangladesh in late November. Among them, 154 people from one vessel were reportedly handed over to the illegal military junta; a second vessel with more than 180 Rohingya experienced engine failure and is now anchored close to Indonesia. At least one child has died while many others were suffering from severe dehydration and extreme food shortages. It stated that the third vessel with an estimated 100 Rohingya has departed Bangladesh around 25 November and as its whereabouts are unknown, there are grave fears for the safety of all onboard. The NUG appealed to ASEAN and its Member States to provide emergency assistance to the Rohingya refugees stranded in the Strait of Malacca and to support urgent efforts to locate the missing third vessel. The NUG underlined that under no circumstances should Rohingya be refouled to Myanmar, where they face certain persecution by an illegal junta that has directed deliberate, systematic and widespread atrocities against them. It was emphasized that the deepening junta-induced crises afflicting Rakhine State and the rest of Myanmar are forcing out more Rohingya and prevent the safe and dignified return of Rohingya driven out by earlier waves of violence. The NUG acknowledged the significant assistance that Bangladesh continued to provide to Rohingya refugees. It highlighted that the sudden increase in boat departures shows how desperate the affected persons are.


Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état


On 14 December 2022, at the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit, Joint Leaders’ Statement was released. In the statement, concerns and comments regarding the situation in Myanmar was included as follows: We remain deeply concerned over the crisis situation in Myanmar. We recall Myanmar’s commitment to the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus during the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021 and urge the timely and complete implementation of the Five- Point Consensus, including the ASEAN Leaders’ Review and Decision on the Implementation of the Five-Point Consensus adopted at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits on 11 November 2022. The EU will continue to support ASEAN’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful solution in the interest of the people of Myanmar, including through the work of the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, in building confidence and trust with full access to all parties concerned, and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar, including those who are the most in need, without discrimination. We reiterate our commitment to peace and stability in the region and continue to call for the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and for the release of all political detainees, including foreigners. We denounce the executions of four opposition activists in July. We will redouble our collective efforts towards a peaceful solution in Myanmar that also reflects a continued commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, as outlined in the ASEAN Charter. We welcome close coordination between the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary- General on Myanmar to ensure synergy in this important endeavour. ASEAN welcomes and looks forward to the continued support from its external partners, such as the EU, for ASEAN's efforts to implement the Five-Point Consensus.


On 15 December 2022, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees posted an Emergency Overview Map on the number of people displaced in South East since Feb 2021 and remain displaced. According to its weekly highlights, in the South-East, the number of IDPs increased from 331,500 last week to 338,200 this week. In Bago Region (East), armed clashes and airstrikes forced about 500 people to leave their villages and seek safety in the nearby jungle in Shwegyin Township. In Kayah State, about 1,100 IDPs were verified in Loikaw town following intensified fighting and indiscriminate shelling in their villages. Among them, 550 IDPs were identified as newly displaced, and 530 were displaced multiple times. In State Shan (South), 260 IDPs returned to their places of origin. Between them, 170 returned to Loikaw town in Kayah State while 90 returned to Pekon Township in Shan State (South). In Mon State, 5,900 IDPs were displaced within Bilin Township due to security concerns and fears over airstrikes.


On 16 December 2022, at the United Nations daily press briefing, Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that according to UN colleagues at the UN Development Programme in Myanmar, the number of people living in poverty has doubled, due to the effects of the pandemic and the military takeover, to nearly half of the population, which is 25 million people. He explained that with the conditions on the ground remain challenging, UNDP has directly reached one million of the most vulnerable people with support since February 2021. He added that the aid it has provided included support to internally displaced people, non-food items, water infrastructure, provision of seeds and fertilizer; grants for micro and small enterprises, particularly those headed by women; and supporting access to markets. He further said that UNDP also announced that it is mobilizing resources to scale up its operations to directly reach up to seven million people over the next two years.


On 16 December 2022, the United Nations General Assembly approved postponing - for the second time - a decision on whether the Afghan Taliban administration and the Myanmar junta can send a United Nations ambassador to New York. The General Assembly approved the decision by the U.N. credentials committee without a vote, and deferred a decision on rival claims to Libya's U.N. seat. The postponement of decision on Myanmar allows the current representative to continue to remain in place. According to the credentials committee, it could "revert to consideration of these credentials at a future time in the seventy-seventh session" of the General Assembly, which ends in September 2023.



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Date: 18 December 2022

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York

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