Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (18 September 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been 19 months since 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 16 September 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,281 people, arrested 15,546 people and a total of 12,412 people remain in detention, whereas a total of 126 people have been sentenced to death, including 84 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
Brutal Airstrike and massive shelling on a primary Monastic School in Letyet Kone Village
According to the news, at least the two of the military’s Mi 35 helicopters brutally attacked a primary monastic school headed by the local CDM teachers and villagers in Letyet Kone Village in Debayin Township of Sagaing Region. It was reported that the two helicopters intentionally fired upon the school building for 45 minutes during the school hours. The military troops then raided the school compound and shot minor students to death. BBC news reported that due to the military’s airstrike and massive shelling on the school, at least 11 children have been killed and 15 more are missing.
According to the local people who witnessed the incident, a number of students were killed during the attack. The names of three of the children among the deceased students can be revealed: 7-year-old Bhone Tayza, 7-year-old Su Yati Hlaing and 14-year-old Phoe Thar. The investigation is still ongoing.
In addition, due to the violent attack by the military, seven other residents of Letyet Kone village were also killed, namely 49-year-old U Kyaw Tun, 34-year-old U Aung Saw Htwe, 31-year-old U Tin Soe Khaing, 37-year-old Ma Yu, 16-year-old Mg Aung Aung Oo, 22-year-old Mg Aung Chit Moe and 13-year-old Mg Saw Min Oo (aka Mg Baw Gyi).The ground forces of the Military Council arrested over 20 students and teachers who were trapped in the school as the soldiers blockaded the campus and abducted them, forcibly removing them to Ye U township.
Besides the acts of killing and kidnapping, the military burned houses, properties, and animals in the village and continuously shot and shelled at the village and nearby area. The local people from the villages near Letyet Kone village have fled.
Killing Innocent Civilians
According to the news, military forces launched an offensive attack into Zee Kone Village in Kawlin Township of Saging Region in the evening of 12 September 2022. During the military’s attack, two local men were shot dead. Those deceased were local residents Thein Zaw and Chan Thar, the latter of whom is a CDM school teacher.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 16 September 2022, the military forces raided, attacked and fired heavy weapons in Nanwankyein Village in Myaung Township of Sagaing Region on 16 September 2022. During the military’s attack, an elderly woman aged 70 was killed.
News reported that the military forces arrested two members of the Dawei Youth Revolutionary Movement Strike Committee in Dawei Township of Tanintharyi Region. Those arrested were Aung Ko Ko Lwin and Hein Zay Aung. It was reported that Aung Ko Ko was arrested in Dawi Township on 9 September 2022, while Hein Zay Aung was arrested in his house on 10 September 2022.
On 11 September 2022, the military forces arrested two civilians, Kyaw Ye Htwe and May Zin Htwe (aka Wine Chit), at Aung Tagon Ward in Pauk Township of Magway Region. It was reported that they were arrested for allegedly completing PDF training, and they were then taken to the Pauk Myoma Police Station.
According to AAPP, the military forces arrested a civilian named Nay Thu Tun (aka Pu Pu) who lives in Kan Pale Village in Kalay Township of Sagaing Region in the afternoon of 12 September 2022. It was reported that he was arrested for allegedly being a member of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), and he is in danger of being severely tortured.
Myanmar Now News reported that on 13 September 2022, at least 15 people, including two freelance journalists, were arrested by military forces wearing plainclothes during a crackdown on a protest in Kyeemyindaing Township of Yangon.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 17 September 2022, the military forces arrested three men from the townships of Yesagyo, Pauk and Pakokku in Magway Region. They were arrested for allegedly supporting the People’s Defence Force (PDF).
On 18 September 2022, members of the Pyu Saw Htee paramilitary group reportedly arrested four young men near Pan Na Lel Village in Laung Lon Township of Tanintharyi Region. Those arrested are Kyaw Swar Thein, Pyae Wa Aung, Thurein Tun and Paing Ei, who are in their 20s.
Raiding and attacking villages in Kawlin Township
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that on 13 September 2022, the military column entered and raided the villages within Kawlin Township of Sagaing Region. The military forces reportedly arrested 21 civilians from 15 villages within Kawlin Township, and over 5,000 people have fled to nearby villages.
Firing heavy weapons in Mobye Town
According to AAPP, the military forces fired heavy weapons indiscriminately into Mobye Town, Pekon Township in Shan State on 16 September 2022. It was reported that four internally displaced persons (IDPs) were killed by one of the artillery shells exploding on Mway Taw Monastry in Mobye. Those deceased are two sisters aged 10 and 7 and two men in their 50s. Those victims were among the people seeking refuge in the monastery, and 13 others were seriously injured in the attack.
Assaulting and torching houses in a village of Taze Township
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) news reported that the military forces attacked Oke Pho Aing Village in Taze Township of Sagaing Region on 16 September 2022. Local resident said that the military’s forced raided and attacked the village in the early morning of 16 September and four resistance fighters were arrested and killed. The subsequent clashes between the military forces and the resistance fighters caused the deaths of another six resistance fighters. The military subsequently burned the bodies of those killed.
Military troops reportedly torched four houses in the village before they left the village in the evening. Local residents said that when the military forces left, the members of the local resistance fighters found the remains of the 10 victims.
Improperly charging and sentencing
BBC news reported on 16 September that Htet Htet Khaing, the presenter of a programme produced by BBC Media Action for local audiences, was sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour in Myanmar. She was reportedly arrested in August 2021.
Myanmar Now News reported on 16 September 2022 that the military filed an additional charge for treason against Wai Moe Naing, who is a protest leader from Monywa of Sagaing Division. He was arrested during the motorcycle rally on April 2021 after being hit by a car driven by the military personnel, and he has been sentenced to ten years in prison. The charges against him reportedly include allegations that he had ties to an “unlawful association” in violation of Section 17(1) of the Penal Code and that he committed other treasonous acts in violation of Section 124.
Humanitarian Situation in Myanmar
According to the Myanmar Emergency Update reported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as of 6 September 2022, the security situation in Myanmar continued to deteriorate, resulting in an uptick in displacement. As of 6 September 2022, there were an estimated 1,312,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across the country, including 982,000 people who have been newly displaced within the country since 1 February 2021.
It is updated that as of 12 September 2022, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) increased from 286,700 to 289,800 in the South-East of Myanmar.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 18 September 2022, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women, Youths and Children Affairs and Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement regarding the deaths and injuries caused by an airstrike on a self-supporting school of local residents in Lat Yat Kone village in Dabayin township of Sagaing region on 16 September 2022.
The statement said that Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women, Youths and Children Affairs and Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government strongly condemn the targeted attacks on the schools, which is an inhuman and brutal war crime, and the arrested children and teachers need to be released without any harms. The National Unity Government has been meticulously documenting the serious human rights violations and maintaining its consistent effort to bring justice in various ways.
The statement underlined that the international community has responsibility to support the effort of bringing justice for war crimes, such as gross violations of children's "Right to Education" and heinous targeted attacks on schools.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 12 September 2022 at the 51st Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, the Head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) Nicholas Koumjian said that it has been five years since the 2017 military clearance operations in Rakhine State, which led most of the Rohingya population to flee Myanmar, and almost all remain in neighbouring countries awaiting the day when conditions will allow their safe and dignified return home. He stated that since the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021, there is increasing evidence of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, torture, deportation and forcible transfer, persecution, imprisonment, and targeting of the civilian population. He explained that the Mechanism prioritizes gathering evidence of sexual and gender-based violence and crimes against children, and has prepared 67 evidential and analytical packages to share with judicial authorities, including for proceedings at the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. He added that almost three million information items from more than 200 sources had been collected and processed.
On 13 September 2022, Human Rights Watch said that the military and police of Myanmar are responsible for scores of deaths in custody since the military coup, and the deaths of six detained activists, that involved apparent torture or the denial of adequate medical care, have been documented. A Myanmar researcher at Human Rights Watch explained, “The six deaths Human Rights Watch documented are just the tip of the iceberg of suffering and torture of those detained by Myanmar’s military and police.” Human Rights Watch said that the UN, regional bodies, and governments – the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, and ASEAN – should specifically raise concerns about deaths in custody and press the Myanmar’s military to end them.
On 16 September 2022, UN experts – Ms Mary Lawlor, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Mr Thomas Andrews, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar – said that concrete support including financial is urgently needed for Myanmar human rights defenders, including those who have had to flee the country. They also called on the international community to take stronger action and coordinated pressure on the military of Myanmar, as well as to end apparent indifference to the violence targeting the population of the country. UN experts said, “The international community must not adopt a passive stance when it comes to the crimes that are being perpetrated by the military junta and the risks for human rights defenders in Myanmar.”
The report released by the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commission on 16 September 2022 said that states must do more to cut the Myanmar military’s access to revenue and arms supplies to halt its repression of the people. It reiterates the recommendations of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar to impose targeted financial sanctions on the military of Myanmar, its economic interests and arms embargos, highlighting at the same time that such measures must respect human rights and that efforts must be made to mitigate foreseeable socio-economic impacts.
Date: 18 September 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York