Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (2 January 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Almost a year has approached since the coup; the Myanmar military group is still ignoring the will of the people and putting the country into turmoil with disproportionate actions.
As of 1 January 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 1,393 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 11,296 people have been arrested, 8,344 people have still been detained, and 1,964 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021. Of a total of 8,344 people under detention, 500 people have been sentenced in-person. Out of 1,964 people who are evading from arrest warrants, 118 people have been sentenced in absentia and 39 people including 2 under-age children have been sentenced to capital punishment in absentia.
Sentencing NLD leaders and Student Activists
According to local media reports, at least 62 junta opponents, including politicians, activists, artists and other public figures, were sentenced on 30 December 2021. Aung Moe Nyo, Chief Minister of Magway Region and an executive committee member of the NLD was given 18 years imprisonment for allegedly accepting bribes and misuse of the state funds. Three other members of the NLD’s central executive committee, Dr Myo Nyunt, Han Tha Myint, and Thein Oo were also sentenced for 2 years for allegedly inciting unrest against the military by issuing two statements released by the NLD after the coup. It is reported that three of them were already in custody when the statements were released. The other NLD’s speakers of the regional parliaments were sentenced in prison as well.
On the same day, the special court inside Insein Prison also reportedly handed down sentences against two prominent student leaders. It is reported that Aye Aung, a former member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), received three years in prison for his role in anti-coup protests in Yangon’s Tamwe Township in March. Former ABFSU executive, Min Thway Thit was also given a year in prison for driving an unregistered vehicle without a license. On 29 December 2021, ABFSU activist Wai Yan Phyo Moe got two years and one month in prison on charges stemming from his political activities in September of last year.
Sentencing Famous Author and Model
On 27 December 2021, author Than Myint Aung and model Paing Takhon were reportedly sentenced to three years in prison for incitement and their anti-coup activities in Yangon’s Insein Prison. The author was a member of the Yangon City Development Committee during the NLD led government. She was arrested on the early morning of the February 1 coup and charged with violating Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code shortly after being detained. It is reported that she was sentenced to 3 years in prison with hard labour due to her provocative speech in 2019. A 25-year-old model Paing Takhon was well-known for his active participation in the anti-military movements. He was also given the same sentence as the author.
Using Torture as an Oppression
A-20-year-old third year university student, Aung Bhone Kyaw reportedly died in custody, a day after he was arrested. He was taken from Tamwe Township of Yangon to an undisclosed location on 26 December 2021. In the afternoon of the next day, his family was asked by the military to come to Yay Way cemetery for his funeral. It is believed that the student died as a result of the military’s vicious interrogation practices.
Since the military coup, there have been numbers of detainees across the country who were killed by the torture perpetrated in the interrogation centers.
Military Fighter Jets Attacks in Kayah State
According to the Myanmar Now news, on New Year's Eve, Myanmar military deployed two fighter jets to join its ground forces in a military operation against the local resistance forces in Demoso Township of Kayah State.
It is reported that the airstrikes targeted the areas surrounding Demoso police station and Dawngankhar ward around 3pm and dropped at least two bombs. The People’s Defence Force in Demoso – a group involved in the fighting – said in a statement that the military’s ground forces also fired heavy artillery shells during the clashes that started around 9am.
Demoso PDF's spokesperson told Myanmar Now that at least 12 resistance force members were injured due to the military’s heavy artillery shelling. Some 2,000 displaced people sheltering at a nearby village fled again in panic due to the heavy fighting.
According to the Karenni Human Rights Group, it is reported that at least 146 civilians have been killed by the military in the Karenni region since the coup and more than 600 buildings, including homes and churches, have been destroyed by military’s arson attacks and artillery fire.
Discovery of Seven Bodies in Ye-U village
According to the credible report of local witnesses, the seven bodies were discovered following the military’s airstrikes on Yae Myet Village of Ye-U Township in Sagaing Region on 24 December 2021. It is reported that the bodies are of two women, three men and the other two bodies were not be able to be identified. According to the local residents, it could not identify the remaining bodies as they are badly dismantle due to heavy artillery operation of the military junta troops and others had been burnt. The bodies were buried together in front of a burnt-down house and they were only half buried.
On 20 December 2021, the military forces raided and assaulted Yae Myet Village by an aerial attack using five helicopters and torched the village. As a result of the military’s attack, around 5,000 people from the neighbouring villages, including Gwet, Naypukone, Euyin, Natgyikone and Sinthaykone, have been displaced.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The National Unity Government issued a statement dated 2 January 2022 in response to the Security Council Press Statement on Myanmar. It stated that the National Unity Government welcomes the press statement of the Security Council of 29 December 2021. It called upon the Security Council to take immediate steps to list the military junta as a terrorist organization, and to refer the junta’s atrocity crimes to the International Criminal Court. It stressed that the National Unity Government remains committed to constructive engagement with the Security Council.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 26 December 2021, in response to the reports of an attack against civilians in Kayah State of Myanmar on 24 December, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mr. Martin Griffiths issued statement, condemning the grievous incident and all attacks against civilians throughout the country and calling upon the authorities to immediately commence a thorough and transparent investigation into the incident for bringing the perpetrators to justice. Moreover, the statement called upon the Myanmar Armed Forces and all armed groups in Myanmar to take all measures to protect civilians from harm.
On 27 December 2021, in her first statement since taking the role, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, Ms. Noeleen Heyzer said that she was deeply concerned by the continued escalation of violence in Kayin State and other parts of Myanmar and called for a New Year ceasefire between the military and its opponents.
Save the Children issued a statement on 28 December 2021 that their two staff were among at least 35 people, who were killed on 24 December in an attack by the Myanmar military in Kayah State. Inger Ashing, Chief Executive of Save the Children said, “this news is absolutely horrifying. Violence against innocent civilians including aid workers is intolerable, and this senseless attack is a breach of International Humanitarian Law. We are shaken by the violence carried out against civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar”. Save the Children stated that the UN Security Council must convene as soon as possible to hold those responsible to account, and member states should impose an arms embargo, including a focus on limiting the airstrikes. It is also underlined that ASEAN must also convene an urgent meeting to review and implement the ‘Five Point Consensus’ which calls for an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar.
On 28 December 2021, the United States condemned the attacks committed in Kayah State on 24 December which killed at least 35, including women and children and two staff members of Save the Children, and called on the military to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers and to grant free and unhindered access to those providing humanitarian assistance for the people in the country. It is also stated that the U.S will continue to work with our partners and allies to promote accountability, including by supporting the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, and to press for a restoration of the country’s path to peace and democracy.
On 28 December 2021, Ms. Debora Comini, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific said that UNICEF strongly condemned the reported attack killing of at least 35 people, including four children and two staff members of Save the Children in Kayah State of Myanmar, and called for urgent action to investigate this deplorable incident and to hold those responsible to account.
On 29 December 2021, the UN Security Council issued a Press Statement on the situation in Myanmar, condemning the reported killing of at least 35 people, including four children and two staff of Save the Children, in Kayah State of Myanmar on 24 December, and stressing the need to ensure accountability for this act. The members of the Council called for the immediate cessation of all violence in Myanmar, and emphasized the importance of respect for human rights and of ensuring safety of civilians, while the member states stressed the need for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, as well as for the full protection for the safety and security of humanitarian and medical personnel. The members of the Council reaffirmed their support for the people of Myanmar and the country’s democratic transition.
Canada condemned the military’s recent attacks against Myanmar civilians and the continued violation of international human rights law and humanitarian law on 29 December 2021. Canada reiterated the call on the military to immediately cease indiscriminate attacks and to ensure safety of civilians in line with international law, while stating that they will continue to support the efforts to ensure accountability for crimes committed and ongoing violence against the people.
On 30 December 2021, High Representative of European Union Josep Borrell issued a Statement on the recent escalation of violence in Myanmar, underlining that the military’s attacks and killing of at least 35 people, including women, children and humanitarian workers, demand the urgent need to hold those responsible accountable, and targeted attacks against civilians and humanitarian actors violates human rights and international law, including humanitarian law. It is stated that the EU supports the efforts of the United Nations Special Envoy on Myanmar and the ASEAN Five Point Consensus, towards a peaceful resolution of the current crisis in Myanmar, as well as the EU continues to provide humanitarian assistance, in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
On 31 Dec 2021, the 14 humanitarian organizations in Myanmar issued a statement, outraging at the military’s reported attack and killing of civilians and aid workers on 24 December. These organizations called on the ASEAN to convene an urgent meeting to review and take action on the ASEAN Five Point Consensus which calls for an immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, as well as urged the United Nations Security Council and member States with influence to take immediate action to ensure the protection of civilians and the aid workers, to provide accountability measures to ensure to not occur this type of attack again. The 14 organizations which issued the statement include ACTED, AVSI, Christian Aid, Danish Refugee Council, Finn Church Aid, Humanity & Inclusion, International Rescue Committee, Lutheran World Federation, MA-UK, Mercy Corps, Norwegian People’s Aid, People in Need, Solidarités International and The Union.
Date: 2 January 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York