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Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (2 April 2023)


Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar


(02-04-2023)


More than 24 months ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the elected 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 31 March 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 3,194 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 20,942 people have been arrested and a total of 150 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 108 (including two children) are detained and 42 remain 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 death sentences were executed by the military junta in July 2022.


Violations committed by the military


Raiding, killing, torching and looting villages in Sagaing Region


According to AAPP, on 23 March 2023, during the raid in Nyaung Zin Gyi Village in Htan Kone Rural Area, Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region by the junta group of approximately 150 junta personnel, a mentally-unwell local villager Tun Min Oo was burned alive and killed. The junta soldiers also set fire to 32 houses, 17 motorbikes, along with farming equipment and grain.


On 25 March 2023, around 50 junta personnel raided and set fire to Sone Kone Village in Budalin Township, Sagaing Region. It was reported that during this raid, a total of seven villagers, including visually-impaired persons, elderly and other ill locals, who were unable to flee, were burned alive and around 180 houses were burned down. The survivors later found the bodies of those burned alive inside their torched houses. The seven deceased individuals were Kyi Myint (aka Japan Gyi), Khway Ma, Khin Myint, and Tin Ei, all in their eighties; Daw Pyae and Kyi Aung, both age 75; and San Myint, age 50.


Raiding, killing, torching and looting villages in Tanintharyi Region


According to the news, on 24 March 2023, junta forces raided Palaw Kone Village Tract in Palaw Township, Tanintharyi Region, and had a clash with the local PDFs. On the following day, 25 March 2023, junta forces detained and killed a local villager, Tin Oo. It was also reported that Myo Min Thu from Nat Eain Taung Village, Palaw Township, who ran into the junta forces was shot dead.


Killing innocent civilians


The news reported that on 24 March 2023, junta soldiers from the No. 8 Infantry Battalion shot dead two villagers, Saw Nga Pyuu and Saw Ye Naing, from Daukyat Village in Bilin Township, Mon State, while they were on hidden watch near the village. There were no apparent reasons for this killing as the two victims were only walking. The two villagers reportedly died on the spot.


On 25 March 2023, junta personnel shot two men on a motorbike, while they were passing a junta checkpoint in Ka Ma Hlaing Village, Tanintharyi Township, Tanintharyi Region. The two victims were accused of being PDF members. According to news reports, Than Linn Chit, who was riding on the backseat, fell off the bike from being shot and died on the spot. Pyae Sone Aung (aka A Linn Yaung), who was driving the motorbike, was also shot and died later while seeking treatment in a clinic in nearby Pa Wa Village.


Arresting innocent civilians


According to the news, at least ten civilians were arrested for the suspected planning of an attack on the military parade for Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw on 27 March 2023. most of the detainees were reportedly from Zee Hpyu Pin Village, Zayarthiri Township. The junta alleged that Sein Lwin and Win Myo Htet had been taught how to use the weapons by the leader of the Naypyitaw People’s Defence Force (PDF) in Mayan Taung Village, Pyinmana Township, two days earlier. Explosive devices and more arms were said to have been found near the community. The detainees’ condition was not confirmed at the time of reporting.


Death of unjustly detained civilians in prison


The news reported that the junta refused to return the bodies of two unjustly detained civilians who were killed while under detention to their relatives in Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region. The bodies of the two victims, Thet Paing Soe, 28, and Chit Min Naing, 17, were found in a nearby drainage ditch with injuries on 24 March 2023. They were among the eight civilians who were arrested by the junta soldiers stationed at the town’s sugar mill on 8 and 9 March 2023 after a woman who was allegedly working for the military as an informant was shot dead on 6 March 2023 by unknown assailants. According to news reports, among the eight detainees, one was released on 10 March and other five on 16 March. According to the locals who found the two bodies, at the time of discovery, the bodies were already badly disfigured, and they estimated that the two victims were dead for at least five days. They also discovered knife wounds in the chest of Thet Paing Soe and deep cuts all over his body, whereas the body of Chit Min Naing had similar cuts with his face having bulging eyes and a protruding tongue. According to a source close to the victims’ families, the military refused their request to retrieve the bodies from the ditch for a proper Muslim burial, instead throwing them in the Mu River. According to friends of the victims’ families, the military had also forbidden them from holding vigils, inviting neighbours to their houses to mourn, or even publicly praying.


According to the news, on 21 March 2023, the family members of Lal Pang Sann Ngar, who was detained in Mawlaikkalay Prison, were informed of his sudden death in the prison. Lal Pang Sann Ngar was arrested by the junta soldiers on 24 January 2023 for encouraging people to join the Civil Disobedience Movement and participating in protests himself after the coup. He was sentenced to two years in prison under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code on 24 February 2023. The news reported that his family retrieved his body and buried him in Myar Zaw Village in Falam Township, Chin State, where he had resided before his death.


Charges against anti-military activists


On 28 March 2023, the Dawei District Court sentenced Myo Min Oo, a former chairman of the Dawei District Students’ Union, and Aung Wai Yan Tun, a member of Dawei Technological University Students’ Union, to each serve 10 years in prison under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law. The two of them are both students of Dawei Technological University. In May 2021, the junta arrested Myo Min Oo for protesting against the military dictatorship and sentenced him under the Penal Code. After six months, on 20 October 2021, he was released. On 12 September 2022, the junta arrested him for the second time in Khon Win Dap Ward, Dawei Town, whereas they arrested Aung Wai Yan Tun at his house in Kyet Sar Pyin Ward, Dawei Town, on 11 September 2022.


On 30 March 2023, eighteen-year-old Su Thon Paing, a member of No. 2 Mayangone High School Students’ Union (All Burma Federation of Student Unions), was sentenced by Mayangone Township Court to serve three years in prison under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code. She is a high school student and was arrested by junta forces on 26 October 2022.


Airstrikes, heavy artillery, and other targeting of civilian areas


According to news reports, during the clashes with an alliance of anti-junta forces including several Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and People’s Defence Force (PDF) battalions, at junta bases in Kawkareik and Myawaddy townships on 25 March 2023, the junta forces carried out both ground and air operations. According to a local resident, two military helicopters subsequently fired on the towns of Kawkareik and Kyondo. Due to the simultaneous heavy artillery and the military helicopters attacks, two local men were killed and several local people, including women and children, were injured. More than 7,000 residents from at least five villages were displaced, and according to local relief workers, only around 20% of residents remain in the town and surrounding area amid the heavy military presence.


On 27 March 2023, junta forces fired heavy weaponry in Me Yone Lay Village, Kyaikto Township, Mon State, despite no clash taking place. A local gardener Hlyan Htet Aung was killed on the spot while he was working in the field as one of the artillery shells exploded in a plantation field in the village. Six other local gardeners in the field were also injured. Later, the six injured were sent to Kyaikto Township Hospital for treatment. However, during the treatment, Saw Naung from among those six, died at the hospital.


On 30 March 2023, junta forces made an aerial attack onto Khuafo Village in Thantlang Township, Chin State, with fighter planes. According to news reports, the bombing killed eight locals, including a child under the age of ten. The names of the deceased were Nu Ngun Dawt, Nu Sung Hlei, Nu Len Zi, Mah Khin Nu, Pa Siang Cung Bik, Pa Van Duh, Pa Kep Lian, and Pa Cung Hlei.


On the same day, the junta forces also conducted aerial attacks followed by heavy artillery strikes onto Htee Hpoe Ka Loe Village, around seven miles south east of Demoso Township, Karenni State. According to the Karenni Human Rights Group (KnHRG), the bombing targeted onto a local clinic and a community-run school called “Nway Oo Guru Lay Myar” located in front of the clinic. It was reported that a member of KNDF who was in the area at the time of attack was killed and the civilians who had been sheltering at the clinic fled into the nearby forests and to temporary camps for IDPs.


Activities of the National Unity Government


On 26 March 2023, Union Minister for Human Rights H.E. U Aung Myo Min and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung attended the Charity Fair for revolution organized by Myanmar community in Froland, Norway and attended the gathering with the community. They explained the situation in Myanmar, relations with international community and the other activities of the NUG.


On 27 March 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) issued Weekly Newsletter No.13/2023, containing articles related to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included the NUG’s announcement on 20 March as it sent a formal letter of demand to the PTT Exploration to the flow of funds from the Yadana Project, the Ministry of Defence’s announcement regarding the rescue of 15 IDPs by allied defence groups, remark by Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun at the New York Presentation of the 2022 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, and the NUG urging NGOs and CSOs to seek prior authorization from the relevant ministries under the NUG.


On 31 March 2023, the National Unity Consultative Council and National Unity Government jointly released a Joint Statement on Second Anniversary of Federal Democracy Charter. In the joint statement, it was mentioned that the Federal Democracy Charter was ratified by respective stakeholders against the attempted coup with the goal of eradicating all forms of dictatorship, including military dictatorship, abolition of the 2008 constitution, Democratic Federal Union building, and the emergence of Civilian Government. It stated that Chapter (3) of the Federal Democracy Charter part 1 clearly defined the twelve steps of the political road map or the implementation process in order to implement the activities mentioned above that equally represent the desire of the entire society of ethnic populace. The NUCC and NUG declared their commitment to continue the transitional constitution drafting following the fundamental policy guidance toward "building a federal democratic union with the assurance of freedom, justice, and equality," as defined in the political road map.


On 2 April 2023, the Ministry of Defence of the National Unity Government released a special notice, inviting to the members of the military and police force, who continue serving the terrorist military, to join the “People’s Embrace” Program. In the notice, it was mentioned that as of 21 February 2023, a total of 12,327 members of the military and police force, and thousands of their family members have already joined the Program. Together with the people, the NUG records and recognizes those comrades who sought to join people’s embrace as “people’s heroes”. Explaining the situation of those comrades who joined the program and the assistance provided to them, the NUG encouraged the members of the military and police force who continue serving the terrorist military to stand together with the people and join the people’s resistance warfare against the terrorist military alongside the people before the closure of the people’s embrace program.


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


On 27 March 2023, the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office announced further sanctions targeting a prominent arms dealer and companies supplying aviation fuel to the Myanmar military. The sanctions come in response to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military, including air strikes targeting civilians. The sanctions aim to restrict the Myanmar military‘s access to fuel and military equipment. Those sanctioned included: Tun Min Latt, Director of Star Sapphire Trading Company Limited, a company previously sanctioned by the UK which supplies restricted goods or technology through its business; Shoon Energy Pte Ltd, a company profiting from the supply of aviation fuel to the Myanmar Air Force; and Khin Phyu Win, current Director and shareholder of Shoon Energy Pte Ltd. In the announcement, the UK’s Minister for the Indo- Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said that the UK condemns the military's increasingly brutal campaign against the Myanmar people and the UK will continue to work closely with partners to hold the military regime to account and support the people of Myanmar. It was mentioned that this is the 15th round of targeted sanctions by the UK against the military regime in Myanmar whereas the UK’s sanctions have been coordinated with international partners, with similar measures being launched by the US.


After the announcement of the junta’s decision on 28 March 2023 to abolish 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy, the US, the UK, France, Germany, EU, Japan, Australia, and Canada made press statements and briefings condemning the decision, stating the impossibility to consider elections free and fair without the participation of all appropriate stakeholders, reiterating their commitment to support those working for the genuine democracy of Burma. The UK’s statement mentioned that there can be no solution to the crisis created by the military regime without meaningful, inclusive dialogue, which respects the people’s democratic wishes. The UK also condemned the military regime’s politically motivated actions and their use of increasingly brutal tactics to sow fear and repress opposition. The statement by France stated that the ban is another step backwards when it comes to freedom of expression and assembly and testifies to the strategy of systematically dismantling the rule of law in Burma since the coup of 1 February 2021. The statement of EU High Representative said that the junta’s decision is yet another demonstration of the blatant disrespect by the military regime for democracy and the rights and wishes of the Myanmar population, and demonstrates the military regime’s determination to eradicate any democratic and peaceful opposition to its rule. The German Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson stated that the dissolution of the parties now threatens a further escalation of violence in Myanmar and a more rapid destabilisation of the country. Japan and Australia expressed their concern over the dissolution of Myanmar's former ruling party and urged the military government to pursue a more inclusive process to return the country to democracy. Canada also called on the international community to support efforts to hold those responsible for human rights violations and abuses to account; to cease the sale and transfer of arms and equipment, which facilitate atrocities; and to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Myanmar’s people, including its most vulnerable communities.


On 29 March 2023, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released an Emergency Overview Map on the number of people displaced in South East Myanmar since February 2021 and remain displaced (as of 27 March 2023). Its weekly highlights mentioned that in the South-East, the number of IDPs has crossed the 400,000 mark, rising from 419,200 last week to 429,800 this week, and in Kayin State 8,000 people were displaced to Kawkareik and Kyainseikgyi Townships due to intensified fighting, airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling in the Kyondoe area of Kawkareik Township. Among them, 6,000 people from Kyondoe town, Kawkareik Township, were displaced within the township on 26 March 2023, while 2,000 people from at least seven villages in Kyainseikgyi Township were displaced to the jungle within the township on 20 March 2023. It added that some 430 IDPs from Myawaddy Township returned to their villages of origin following more stable security situation in the second week of February 2023. It also stated that in Tanintharyi Region, 3,000 people were displaced to Tanintharyi Township. Of this figure, 100 from Tanintharyi Township were displaced on 18 March 2023 due to troop movement and intensified fighting in the area while 2,900 people from Palaw Township were displaced to the jungle within the township.


On 30 March 2023, the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres released a statement which stated that the Secretary-General is deeply concerned by reports that the Union Election Commission under the military junta has dissolved 40 opposition parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was added that any attempts to undermine democratic institutions and processes will only deepen the crisis and delay the return to a fully democratic and inclusive Myanmar. The Secretary-General renewed his call on neighbouring countries and other Member States to urge the military leadership to adhere to inclusive political processes. The Secretary-General also reiterated his call for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.


On 31 March 2023, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a statement titled “UNFPA delivers support to ensure rights and dignity of women and girls with disabilities amidst conflicts in Myanmar”. As the statement reflects the voices of women with disabilities, it presented the statement by Ms. Nwe Nwe Win, a local woman with physical disability who said that women with disabilities experience double discrimination due to their gender and disability status. Without having access to information and services, they are more vulnerable to face different forms of violence both inside and outside of their homes. The statement further explained that according to the 2019 Myanmar Inter-censal Survey, there are an estimated 3.5 million females with disabilities compared to estimated 2.5 million of males. Women with disabilities are 2 to 4 times more likely to experience intimate partner violence. They are more vulnerable to experience the situation such as withholding medication and assistive devices (such as wheelchairs, hearing aid and white canes, etc.), denial of assistance, food, water, and basic needs. The statement also mentioned that in conflict related situations, women and girls with disabilities are especially vulnerable. The statement also highlighted that every person with disability has equal rights and choices as anyone else, as in global frameworks such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To end discrimination and exclusion in our society, it is important that we leave no one behind.



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Date: 02 April 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York



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