Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (2 October 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Over twenty months 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 30 September 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,327 people, arrested 15,691 people, and 12,548 people remain in detention, whereas 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. At least 760 houses and buildings have been sealed off by the military between February 2021 and August 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Killing Innocent Civilians
AAPP reported that when a military column consisting of 60 troops advanced towards Shwebo Town from Khin-U Town in Sagaing Region on 25 September 2022, they shot two farmers in the fields on the side of a road near Myay Ni Sho Village. A farmer named Kyaw San Myint was reportedly killed, while another farmer named Ohn Shwe was shot in the thigh and seriously injured.
On 25 September 2022, the Operation Control Command No.9 based in Kyauktaw Town in Rakhine State reportedly fired heavy weaponry indiscriminately. One of the artillery shells landed on a house in Nagara Village in Kyauktaw Township, killing a 7-year-old child named Ko Naing (aka Maung Gyi).
According to AAPP, the military’s Infantry Battalion 250 and Light Infantry Battalion 422 fired heavy weaponry indiscriminately from Loikaw Township in Kayah State on 27 September 2022. One of the artillery shells landed in Kone Thar Village in Loilaw Township instantly killing a 55-year-old woman in her house, and two local villagers were seriously injured.
Myanmar Now News reported that a high-school teacher named Kyaw Naing Win (50s), who had joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), was arrested in southern Mandalay Region’s Wundwin Township on 23 September 2022, and five days later on 28 September 2022 he was reported dead while being held at an interrogation centre in Meikhtila.
Raiding a village in Wetlet Township
The Irrawaddy reported that a military column consisting of 50 troops from Infantry Battalion 42 based in Shwebo Town arrived in two trucks in Ywathargyi Village in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region on 25 September 2022, and began shooting indiscriminately. During the military’s raid, five villagers were killed and 20 others went missing.
It was reported that the military troops torched seven houses in the village on 26 September 2022, and burned down five more houses on 27 September. Around 150 villagers who were unable to flee were trapped in the village. A local villager said that in the village school, the military troops summoned villagers for questioning.
Torching the villages in Taze Township
According to Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the military forces have torched over 6,000 houses in the villages within Taze Township of Sagaing Region from 16 to 29 September 2022, badly affecting the lives of the local residents. It was reported that for the time being, the villages located in the northern parts within Taze Township are mostly being burned down.
Local residents said that as the military troops torched houses, food and rations, and farmer utensils, the villagers no longer have places and houses to return to, and they are currently taking shelters in monasteries, and some are staying in other houses of their friends, which is unsustainable in the long run.
It was reported that the military troops are currently attacking the villages in the northern parts within Taze Township. As the military troops continue to conduct offensive attacks within Taze Township and in the northern parts within the township, the local residents are fleeing.
Shelling Heavy Artillery in Minbya Township
News reported that the military troops, stationed around the town of Minbya in Rakhine Township, fired multiple rounds of heavy artillery in the early morning of 27 September 2022. The artillery shelling from five locations of three Light Infantry Battalion bases hit the nearby villages.
Local residents said that one shell fell in Kaung Laung Chaung, four in Hpa Laung Pyin and three in Setkayae, injuring at least six civilians including young children. According to Myanmar Now, two of the victims are four-year-old Khaing Myo Zan and 18-year-old Kyaw Naing Oo from Hpa Laung Pyin, whereas the others are from Setkayae, namely 6-year-old San Goe Aung, 60-year-old Kywin Kyan, 45-year-old Hnin Che and her son Aung Naing Linn.
Sentencing State Counsellor, Australian Economic Adviser, and three other Cabinet Members
According to the news, a military court in Naypyitaw sentenced State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to three years in prison under the Official Secrets Act on 29 September 2022. It was reported that as the State Counsellor had previously been sentenced to 20 years in prison, the sentencing on 29 September brought her total term to 23 years’ imprisonment.
Economic Advisor Sean Turnell, an Australian national, was also sentenced by the military to three years in prison under the Official Secrets Act on 29 September. He was additionally convicted of violating Section 13(1) of Immigration Act of Myanmar, dealing with illegal overstay or entry to the country. It was reported that he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment to be served concurrently with the sentence for breaching the Official Secrets Act.
In addition, Finance Minister U Kyaw Win, his successor U Soe Win and Deputy Minister U Set Aung were sentenced to the same prison term of three years on 29 September 2022.
According to Myanmar Now, a military court in Insein Prison in Yangon handed the presenter of BBC Media Action Htet Htet Khaing the second three-year sentence on 27 September 2022 after she was convicted on charges of violating Section 17(1) of the Unlawful Association Act. It was reported that she was sentenced to three years with hard labour by a military court in Bahan Township under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code on 15 September 2022.
On 28 September 2022, a military court in Insein Prison in Yangon handed the Student Leader Wai Yan Phyo Moe a further two years in prison. He is the vice president from the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), and was arrested in March 2021. It was reported that the latest sentence under an incitement charge for his political activities brought his total sentence to seven years and two months in prison.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 26 September 2022, the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued a “Press Statement on Terrorist Military’s Excessive Use of Air Strikes and Artillery Fire on Lat Yat Kone Village, Depayin Township.” In response to the military’s excessive attack, the statement said the following:
On 16 September at around 1 pm, the terrorist military used its MI35 helicopter and Light Infantry Battalion 368 to fire upon a school within the grounds of a monastery in Lat Yat Kone Village in Depayin Township, Sagaing Region.
The military attacked the school for about an hour.
In total, thirteen innocent civilians died, including seven children, and another twenty-one civilians, including school children and teachers, were taken away as ransom.
The military refused to hand over the bodies of six children who were killed and instead carried them away in jute bags, and another child died later in Ye-Oo Hospital.
The military forces torched the homes and buildings, including animals, in the Village, and continued with the armed assault on nearby settlements.
Eighteen civilians from Nyaung Hla, Thit Tone, Moo Sone, Moo Khan, Nyaungyi Kone, Innpin and Lat Yat Kone villages within Depayin Township were injured.
This has resulted in the eastern part of Depayin Township sinking into a renewed state of emergency, forcing tens of thousands of villagers to abandon this area of conflict.
According to the data from the Ministry of Women, Youth & Children’s Affairs of the National Unity Government, the statement said that from the start of the coup d’état on 1st February 2021 to date, the terrorist military council has killed 234 youths under 18 years of age, 363 youths have been illegally detained. The National Unity Government has been systematically recording and gathering the evidence of every atrocious act that the terrorist military council has been committing, identifying those who have lost their lives and has been reporting this to international legal organisations and professional bodies in order to bring justice for victims in the future. The NUG with its allies, the Ethnic Communities, together are urgently drawing up legal processes so that those who have broken the law and committed crimes can be issued with warrants, arrested, and brought before the courts of law in liberated areas.
The statement, the National Unity Government urged the United Nations and the international community to take prompt, effective and serious measures regarding Myanmar to stop the brutality of the terrorist military, which is threatening peace, democracy and the human rights of every human race around the world.
On 30 September 2022, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the General Discussion on Social Development of the Third Committee of the Seventy-Seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Permanent Representative said that Myanmar supports social development and the well-being of every individual in the society and had made considerable progress for the people under the elected civilian government, but all progress was destroyed by the military dictators through the illegal military coup. He underlined that the heartbreaking situation is escalating in Myanmar; the people have been suffering since the illegal military coup in February 2021. He added that the people are now suffering from all aspects ranging from safety and security to economic hardships.
The Permanent Representative explained that last over 19 months, the military has engaged in extrajudicial killings, torture, massacres, destroying villages and a massive violation of human rights, amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes. He stated that the international community should not continue ignoring Myanmar people’s desperate call for help, and the voices and crying out for help of the helpless Myanmar people are loud and clear. He appealed again to the international community including the United Nations to take decisive action immediately to save lives of the people of Myanmar, stressing that the decisive response of the international community matters and the international community must not let military’s atrocities continue any further.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 27 September 2022, the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) stated that they are collecting evidence concerning the recent sustained attack on a school located in Let Yet Kone village in Sagaing Region to assess criminal responsibility. According to the IIMM, the multiple reports indicate that the military forces attacked the school, located in the compound of a monastery, for several hours on 16 September 2022, firing rockets from helicopters, firing machine-guns, and then conducting an infantry attack. The IIMM said that armed attacks targeting civilians are prohibited by international laws of war and can be punished as war crimes or crimes against humanity.
On 28 September 2022, James O’Brien, the head of Sanctions Coordination of the State Department of the United States, said at a congressional hearing that the United States has considered reinforcing arms embargoes against the military of Myanmar.
In response to the military’s sentencing of Myanmar State Counsellor to an additional three years imprisonment, the Diplomatic Service of the European Union issued a statement on 29 September 2022. The Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and European Policy stated that the position of the EU remains, as expressed on 6 December 2021, 11 January 2022 and 27 April 2022, and underlined that the trials for her are purely politically motivated. The Spokesperson added that as three former ministers were also sentenced, the proceedings clearly attempted to exclude the democratically elected leaders from the inclusive dialogue process. The Spokesperson said that only a genuine dialogue involving State Counsellor, the National League for Democracy and the National Unity Government, as well as civil society and others in Myanmar can offer any way out of the current crisis. The statement reiterated the urgent call for immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners as well as all those arbitrarily detained since the military coup.
On 29 September 2022, France condemned in the strongest possible terms the new prison sentence against Myanmar State Counsellor, and stated that these proceedings against Myanmar and Foreign citizens are contrary to the goal of a swift, peaceful and negotiated end to the crisis in the country. France reiterated its call for the immediate, unconditional release of all those who are being arbitrarily detained, including State Counsellor and President of Myanmar. France also emphasized that a political dialogue involving the democratic opposition is a crucial prerequisite for any resolution to the crisis in the country.
Date: 2 October 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York