Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (22 May 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Over 15 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 20 May 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,851 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 13,769 people have been arrested and 1,979 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Atrocities committed by the military
Raiding, Killing and Torching in the villages in Sagaing Region
On 11 May 2022, the Junta troops raided Myoe Paw Village, Budalin Township of Sagaing Region and shot Zaw Win San, a local villager, to death while he was running away.
After the junta forces left Mone Taing Pin Village of Ye-U Township in Sagaing Region on 12 May 2022, six bodies were discovered in a house in the village. Afterwards, at least 11 more dead bodies were found in the village, whereas 10 dead bodies were found in neighbouring Inpin Village. According to the news, those 27 bodies are all believed to belong to villagers abducted by regime forces operating in the area. While the cause of death was not clear, there was some evidence to suggest that the victims had been murdered before their bodies were burned. More than 100 Mone Taing Pin residents had reportedly been abducted when the troops entered the village on 10 May 2022. According to one 60-year-old man who managed to escape, the soldiers took around 30 people, including three monks, with them when they left on 12 May 2022. He further mentioned that the Junta troops repeatedly beat some of the abductees and demanded to know where local People’s Defence Force (PDF) groups were hiding.
On 14 May 2022, during the raid at Myoe Thit Village in Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, the Junta forces shot a local villager, who attempted to flee, to death at Lat Wae Kone, east of the village.
According to the news, during a two-day rampage starting 18 May 2022, the military raided and torched at least seven villages along the Chindwin River in Kani Township of Sagaing Region and destroyed some 200 homes. Yae Butalin and Chaung WaGyi Villages, which were on the river’s eastern shore, were initially targeted along with three more on the western bank: Sin San, Thayet Taw and Kin Taung Villages. On 19 May 2022, houses near Ngar Phyet and Mu Htaw Villages were burned. According to anti-junta local resistance group, two military columns launched assaults at the same time. Following the raid in Kin Taung Village, a 30-year-old man from that village was found dead with a knife wound to his neck. According to the local residents around the area, the residents of the seven targeted villages had fled their homes, as well as villagers from 10 other communities in the area who feared they too could be attacked. It was reported in the news that guerrilla fighters have been frequently attacking the junta’s marine vessels along the Sagaing Region waterway and resistance forces in Sagaing Region claim to have established control over much of the region, with the exception of three urban wards in Kani Township and Ah Lel Kyun in Kyauktaw Township.
Raiding, Killing and Torching in the villages in Magway Region
On 13 May 2022, after an artillery shell was fired at the Padauk Kan Village, formerly known as Ywar Shey Village in Myaing Township, Magway Region, a column of around 100 junta soldiers carried out an attack against the villagers. The victims were identified as Wat Gyi, 72, Khin Htwe, 70, and Ye Myint, their 30-year-old son. According to residents, a total of 45 houses were destroyed by the shelling, and at least five people were captured when junta troops raided the village after the initial assault. Those captured villagers were tied and being beaten while taken away. Although their bodies were not yet found, the villagers heard that they were later killed by the junta soldiers.
According to an officer of the anti-regime Myaing People’s Defence Force (PDF), 17 more houses were burned down during a second raid on the village on 15 May 2022. Letyetma, a village of more than 1,400 households located to the east of Padauk Kan, lost an estimated 800 houses after it was raided at around 5pm on Saturday, he said. The junta troops kept firing heavy artillery at the local resistance group late into the night until the latter retreated. According to the local resources, the military column responsible for the attacks on Padauk Kan and Letyetma is believed to be holding around 30 civilians as human shields.
Raiding, Killing and Torching in the villages in Mandalay Region and Shan State
On 16 May 2022, the Junta troops based in Nyaungshwe torched Saung Nang Khae Village, Pekhon Township, and later occupied a hill, which was eight miles away in Pekhon Township. According to a local from neighbouring Loi Pann Sone Village in Pekhon, when the junta shells fired into the community on 17 May 2022, two young men, 16 and 18 years old, were injured, and a monastery and home were destroyed. Together with around 200 IDPs who had been sheltering in Loi Pann Sone at that time, around 500 locals have fled to Taunggyi, and other parts of Pekhon Township.
On 17 May 2022, local residents reported that around 20 soldiers and police marched into Kyettuyway Village of Singu Township, Mandalay Region, and started burning down the houses there. Afterwards, they proceeded to commit similar actions in two more villages, Tamarkone and Meinmahlagyun, of the same village tract. According to residents of the area, most of the inhabitants of the affected villages have fled.
On 17 May 2022, according to the report of the Kayan Rescue Committee, after the military shells hit Tsi Mi Lawt and Nyaung Pin Thar Villages, 10,000 people in five wards in Moebye Town, which is opposite of those villages, were forced to leave their homes.
On 11 May 2022, Thae Hein from Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State, was arrested in his home accused of financially supporting the PDFs. He is the son of Mon State Hluttaw Chairman Tin Ei.
During the night of 14 May 2022, the junta arrested Ma Ma Lay, an NLD representative in the Amyotha Hluttaw, and her son Nay Myo Htet, both living in Pauk Taw Ward, Pindaya Township, Shan State. The latter worked at the ministry of cooperatives and had been part of the CDM since February 2021.
On 14 May 2022, Aung KhaingPhyo, who sells betel nut at (19) Ward in Hlaingtharyar Township in Yangon Region, was arrested by the Junta on the basis of alleged connections with the PDF.
On 17 May 2022, three teenage boys between 16 and 17 years old were arrested by the military authorities in Rathedaung Township, Rakhine State, while they were on their way to Thandwe Township by motorcycle. It was two days after the Arakan Army (AA) warned the public of a potential return to fighting between their forces and those of the junta in Rakhine State. Those arrested were Aung Myo Khant, Khaing Myo Lin and Nay Tun Oo, who have been living in an internally displaced persons camp for people who fled fighting between the AA and Myanmar army prior to February 2021. The relatives of those arrested received brief calls informing them of the arrests by the soldiers. The reason for arrest and their whereabouts were unknown. According to the locals, there are three junta security checkpoints on the road connecting Rathedaung with neighbouring Ponnagyun Townships, and that was the route on which the boys are believed to have been detained. Several locals said that travelers are barred from using the motorway after 6pm. On 15 May 2022, the AA made a statement on the social media platform Telegram and urged civilians “to avoid areas where the Myanmar army is active and where its troops are based.”
Abducting and charging the family member of PDF
On 13 May 2022, Nway Yadanar Nwe from Muse Township, Shan State, who was arrested as a hostage on 30 April 2022, was charged under Section 505 (A) of the Penal Code. She is three months pregnant and was taken as a hostage when the junta was unable to locate and capture her younger brother, a member of Muse People’s Security and Defense Army (PSDA-Muse).
Killing innocent civilians
During the night of 11 May 2022, Myo Myat Moe, a 14-year-old boy was shot to death by a policeman in Zayat Gyi Police Precinct, Htantabin Township, Bago Region. He was killed in his home, located in an alley west of the police station, for allegedly pointing a flashlight at said station.
On 18 May 2022, the junta police arrested Zaw Min Tun from Hinthar Kan Village, Paungde Township, Bago Region while he was at his wife’s Flower shop in Paungde. On 19 May, the following day, his family was brought to see his body. However, it is yet to be returned to them.
On 20 May 2022, the Junta forces shot and killed a third-year medical student, Kyaw Nyi Zin, in Myinmu Township, Sagaing Region. While the victim and other members of his family were traveling from Mandalay to Monywa, the junta troops told them to stop. Before their car had slowed down, the troops opened fire to the vehicle and shot Kyaw Nyi Zin in the head. Although the family took Kyaw Nyi Zin to Monywa to receive emergency medical treatment, he later died of his injuries. It was reported that Kyaw Nyi Zin was a student at the University of Medicine, Mandalay, one of five universities in Myanmar dedicated to the study of medicine, and since last year he had stopped attending classes at the university in order to take part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) against military rule.
Using local villagers as human shields
According to the local resistance forces, the column of around 100 junta soldiers advanced to Thit Seint Gyi Village, Wetlet Township, and abducted at least 20 civilians along the way and another 20 when it arrived in Thit Seint Gyi Village on 17 May 2022. According to an officer from the GZ Special Task Force-Wetlet, an anti-regime group operating in the area, those who were captured were interrogated about the information of the local resistance group and then used as human shields. The junta forces also forced some of the abductees to wear military uniforms and walk at the front of the column in order to prevent themselves from being attacked by the local resistance groups. The troops marching through Wetlet have also been accused of torching hundreds of homes in the township, including in the villages of Magyi Thone Pin, Pale Thwe, Maung Kone and Hmethti. It was reported that after the column arrived in Thit Seint Gyi Village, hundreds of people living in other villages of the same village tract, including Kadoh, Hlay Poh Seik, Ywar Thit, Yae Kan Poh, Kyar Kwin, and Htone Bo villages, reportedly fled their homes.
Actions taken against the activists, journalists
On 16 May 2022, Zaw Zaw, 35-year-old journalist who disappeared for more than a month since his arrest on 6 April 2022 was sent to Obo Prison in Mandalay. He was arrested while he was outside with his family and taken back to his house where his laptop, his mobile phone, and the phones of his father and daughter were confiscated. After being arrested, he was reportedly held at the interrogation centre, but his family and relatives were not informed of this until he was moved to Obo Prison. Although he is being charged with the incitement under Section 505a of the Penal Code, according to his friend, he had quit his job as a photojournalist with The Irrawaddy more than a year ago.
On 16 May 2022, the Mandalay District Court added 10 more years of imprisonment to Dein Daung, a 56-year-old political activist under the Counter-terrorism Law. He had been arrested in Kyauk Mee Village in Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region on 4 November 2021 and was later sentenced three years of imprisonment under Section 505(A) of the Penal Code.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 16 May 2022, the National Unity Government released the National Unity Government Weekly News Bulletin (3/2022). In the bulletin, news including the bilateral meeting between the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, the meeting between the Union Minister for Human Rights and the parliamentarians of Czech Republic, excerpt from an interview with Union Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Dr. Win Myat Aye, press release of the meeting between the Alliance Relations Committee of the National Unity Government and the Arakan People’s Government led by the United League of Arakan (ULA), and the NUG’s disappointment in the outcome of the Consultative Meeting on ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar.
On 18 May 2022, at 6 pm, short video footage of the real voices of victims from the villages which were burned down by Myanmar terrorist military was broadcasted on the Facebook page of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (https://www.facebook.com/mohadmNUG/), Facebook page of Public Voice Television (PVTV) (https://www.facebook.com/pvtvmyanmar) and on PVTV's YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/PVTVMyanmar).
On 18 May 2022, the National Unity Government posted a news release regarding the bilateral meeting between the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Senate Minority Leader. In the news release, it was informed that Daw Zin Mar Aung, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs has met with Mr. Mitchell McConnell, Senate Minority Leader on 17 May 2022 at the U.S. Senate Office. Deputy Foreign Minister U Moe Zaw Oo was also present at the meeting. During the meeting, discussion relating to the atrocities and inhumane activities of the military junta, the tireless efforts and resistances of the Myanmar people to reaching the Federal Democratic Nation, the continued support for the democratic movements in Myanmar, and the continued support of the international community including the United States for Myanmar were made.
On 19 May 2022, on behalf of the National Unity Government, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the Open Debate of the United Nations Security Council on the Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Conflict and Food Security. The statement mentioned that ending hunger is one of the most fundamental development goals of humanity. Hard-fought gains in economic development and poverty reduction have been recently shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The devastating socio-economic consequences of the pandemic combined with the ongoing climate crisis are worsening food insecurity particularly among the already vulnerable populations across the world. However, conflict is the dominating root cause of food crisis throughout the world according to the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises.
The Ambassador further explained that Myanmar has been experiencing first-hand the nexus of key drivers of food insecurity: conflict, climate change and poverty. He informed that Myanmar had been undertaking climate change mitigation and adaptation policies as well as economic recovery plans under the democratically elected government when the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup on February 1, 2021. Since then, the illegitimate military regime has been inflicting enormous sufferings on the Myanmar people from repeated brutal massacres to torture to mass displacement. He referred to the data of UNDP that half of the population of Myanmar (more than 25 million people) is now living under the national poverty line and that the humanitarian organizations estimated that in 2022, there are 6.2 million people in need of life-saving support in the country. He highlighted that people lost homes and livelihoods and instability, persistent threats from military violence and lack of resettlement and rehabilitation assistances confine them in IDP camps indefinitely and prevent their return to seasonal farming. This has led to significant disruption of their livelihoods and agricultural production. These ongoing inhumane policies of the military have direct impact on food security in the country. He stressed that there will be no peace and stability in Myanmar as long as the illegal military junta’s failing coup drags on.
In his conclusion, the Ambassador emphasized that responding to hunger everywhere is necessary. However, the answer lies in addressing the root causes of food insecurity. He underlined the need to strengthen multilateral cooperation to tackle climate change and eradicate extreme poverty. To resolve conflicts, the key driver of food insecurity, or at least to alleviate their impacts, it is required not only to enhance the credibility and effectiveness of our multilateral institutions, especially the UN Security Council, but also to promote strict adherence to international law, including international humanitarian law, without which we will be living in a very dangerous world. He urged all to work together and explore all available options to end hunger and conflict-induced food insecurity for the sake of all vulnerable populations not only in Myanmar but also around the world as well as for international peace and security.
On 20 May 2022, Union Minister for Ministry of Planning, Finance and Investment U Tin Tun Naing and his Deputy Minister U Min Zayar Oo, and Deputy Minister for Ministry of Foreign Affairs U Moe Zaw Oo met with U.S. Senate Representatives and discussed about the matters related to imposing sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprises (MOGE) which provides assistance to the terrorist military council. U.S Senate Representatives, Senate officials and personnel who are actively participating in Myanmar situation also attended to this meeting. Discussions including ways to impose effective sanctions on MOGE, to cooperate more on blocking the main fund sources to the terrorist military council, to accelerate the existing sanctions issued by the United States and to cooperate more on further issues were also made during the meeting.
On 22 May 2022, the National Unity Government released a Statement No. (5/2022) regarding the death of Mg Kyaw Zin Nyi, third year medical student. The statement mentioned that Mg Kyaw Zin Nyi was a 21-year-old medical student from the University of Medicine (Mandalay) who joined the CDM. On 20 May 2022, he was shot dead by the indiscriminate shooting of the military junta while he was travelling with his family. It was further highlighted that the terrorist military junta has been committing atrocities against medical personnel and related people, including arbitrary arrests, torture and killing of medical doctors, specialists, nurses, medical staff, pharmacists, and medical-related university students, as well as revoking the licenses for doctors, immorally monitoring and taking the private data of the patients, raiding and occupying the hospitals and clinics, and sealing off them. It was also stated that according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, as of 19 May 2022, at least 1,851 civilians were brutally murdered by the terrorist military junta and the actual number could be higher. The Ministry of Health of the National Unity Government, through the statement, expressed its condolences for the bereaved family of Mg Kyaw Zin Nyi for his death and committed that it will bring justice back for all the medical-related students and personnel and civilians. It further committed to take actions in accordance with the law against those who perpetrated and are involved in atrocities together with the terrorist military junta and that, together with the people of Myanmar, the NUG will tirelessly make efforts towards the goal of the Federal Democracy Union.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
At the United Nations Daily Press Briefing on 16 May 2022, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General remarked that food and nutrition aid in Myanmar has reached 2.1 million people during the first quarter of 2022. He explained that World Food Programme (WFP) hopes to reach at least 4 million of the most food insecure and vulnerable people in the country this year, subject to the availability of resources and access to those in need. He highlighted that the WFP calls for unimpeded humanitarian access, since access to newly displaced populations, mainly in active conflict zones, remains largely restricted. He also informed that the WFP will begin distributing food and other supplies to Kayah State during that week, after attempting to gain access to the area since July of last year. Mr. Stéphane Dujarric also said that in southern Shan State, the WFP is delivering food to internally displaced people and families who fled fighting in Kayah State. He mentioned that fuel prices in Myanmar have doubled in the past year, driving up food prices, and the average cost of a basic food basket is up 32 per cent compared to the same time last year.
On 13 May 2022, the Joint Vision Statement of the ASEAN-U.S. Special Summit was posted on the Website of the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar and its excerpt on its Facebook page on 16 May 2022. According to the excerpt, ASEAN and the U.S. remained deeply concerned over the crisis in Myanmar, highlighted Myanmar’s commitment to the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus during the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April 2021 and urged the timely and complete implementation of the Five-Point Consensus. It also informed that ASEAN and the U.S. 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. ASEAN and the U.S. reiterated their commitment to peace and stability in the region and continued to call for the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar and for the release of all political detainees, including foreigners. They will redouble 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. They also welcomed 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 endeavor.
At the United Nations daily press briefing on 18 May 2022, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General remarked that the U.N. team in Myanmar remains alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, with civilians continuing to suffer amid the fighting, particularly in the country’s north-west and south-east. He said that more than 950,000 men, women and children remain displaced across Myanmar, and that includes more than 600,000 people who are uprooted due to the conflict and insecurity since February 2021. Dujarric mentioned that landmines are a growing threat, with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) saying there have been more than 100 civilian casualties from landmines just in the first quarter of this year. He further informed that the upcoming monsoon season is set to be a miserable one for displaced people living in the open or in camps that are in disrepair due to funding gaps and interruptions to humanitarian services over the past year. He added that aid workers are staying and delivering, despite serious access challenges and funding shortfalls. He also said that they need quicker, simpler and more predictable access to process and address growing needs, especially in conflict areas. He commented that the funding situation is particularly dire, with only 8 per cent of the $826 million requested in 2022 for the Humanitarian Response Plan having been received, and the U.N. urges donors to convert pledges into cash, and to pledge if they have not already. During the question-and-answer session, the Spokesperson answered that there’s no update on the U.N. Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer's efforts to visit Myanmar.
Date: 22 May 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York