Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (23 January 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Almost a year has passed since the military coup, and the Myanmar military group is still ignoring the will of the people and putting the country into turmoil with its disproportionate actions.
As of 21 January 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,488 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 11,665 people have been arrested, 8,716 people have still been detained, and 1,966 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Death Sentences by the military
According to the military-controlled media on 21 January 2022, the military’s court sentenced U Phyo Zayar Thaw, a member of National League for Democracy Party (NLD), and Ko Jimmy (a.k.a Kyaw Min Yu), a prominent pro-democracy activist, to death. Both activists were accused of leading and planning guerilla attacks against the military’s forces and their allies. Ko Jimmy was arrested during a raid in Yangon in late October 2021, and Phyo Zayar Thaw was captured in November 2021.
It is reported that the men were convicted under sections 49a, 50i and 50j of the Counterterrorism Law, which outlaw activities related to explosives, bombings, and financing terrorism. The military accused U Phyo Zayar Thaw, who is also a well-known hip-hop artist, of supporting terrorist groups and keeping stashes of guns, ammunition, grenades and explosives at two apartments in Yangon. He was also accused of having Zoom meetings with the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the National Unity Government (NUG), and its People’s Defence Force (PDF), all of which are labelled by the military as terrorist groups.
Military’s raids and attacks in Magway Region
Within Myaing Township of Magway Region, it is reported that hundreds of military forces have recently raided and attacked throughout the villages, killing and burning civilians, destroying homes, and forcing thousands to flee. Local residents said that the military forces burned down around 50 houses in the villages across Myaing Township on 16 January 2022. It is reported that the military burned homes in the villages within Myaing Township, including Chaung Sone, Aung Chan Thar Sanpya, Tha Dut, Nyaungbin Lay and Wei Taung, as well as in the Kyauk Khwet petroleum near the border with Pauk Township. The military forces were ransacking every single village in this area, and a total of up to 10 villages have been ransacked and destroyed.
According to a local news agency, the military raided and torched San Myo village in Gangaw Township of Magway Region on 18 January 2022, destroying more than 100 homes. It is reported that before clashing with the resistance forces, the military group, involving 100 troops, began targeting San Myo Village and then occupied the nearby villages of Kyauk Pyoke Village and Myauk Khin Yan in the north part, which is a half mile away from San Myo Village. According to the local villagers, the military’s forces fired heavy artillery against the resistance forces and also attacked into the village by using shells, rifles, thrown handmade explosives, such as molotov cocktails, whereby two villagers were injured.
Local villagers said that over 100 houses were destroyed and less than 40 homes in the village of 210 households were left undamaged after the military torched the village. A local villager said that the military also threatened the head monk of the village, by saying that the monastery would be burnt down unless the villagers supported the military. Locals said that this military raid in San Myo Village is the second attack by the military in less than one month. It is reported that more than 10,000 people had been displaced due to the military’s airstrikes and raids on villages in Magway Region.
Military’s killings and arrests of civilians
Local news reported that the military forces opened fire in Madaya township of Mandalay Region on 17 January 2022 after their vehicles were hit by the explosives of resistance forces, and due to the military’s subsequent gunfire, a man and an 8-year-old child were killed. It is reported that a military convoy of nine vehicles was attacked with makeshift bombs between Thabyay Kone and Bo Kone villages of Madaya township. A local villager said that the military troops started shooting from the vehicles and opened fire after jumping out of their vehicles, and following that the military vehicles were attacked. Amid the subsequent gunfire by the military forces, a man was killed near the bridge and an 8-year-old child also died after getting shot in the neck.
It is reported that the military took 13 people from Letpan Village in Natogyi Township of Mandalay Region in the early morning of 18 January 2022, and of them, four people have died at the military interrogation centre in Mandalay Region. Three in their 40s worked as farmers, and one is a 27-year-old man. The military told the local person that they accidentally used too much force during the interrogation. According to the local, although the military told the family to come and collect the body, the military did not allow the family to take the body when they arrived. The family members were allowed to look at the body, but they were prevented from taking any photos.
According to “Myanmar Now” News, two reporters and an office administrator from Dawei Watch were arrested by the military from their homes on the night of 18 January 2022. On the day they were arrested, Dawei Watch had reported that more than 60 people had been killed and 900 were arrested in Tanintharyi since the military coup, describing the difficult conditions that those detained are facing in Dawei Prison, and several newspapers and journals had republished Dawei Watch’s news. It is reported that Dawei Watch’s editor has requested the military to immediately release their employees.
Escalation of Military’s airstrikes and Call of Ethnic Organizations for a No-Fly Zone
The military is now escalating airstrikes, attacking People’s Defense Forces (PDF) and ethnic armed organizations (EAO), as well as civilian targets, including residential areas and refugee camps, especially in Magway Region, Sagaing Region, Chin State, Kachin State, Shan State and Kayah State. Credible news reported that an estimated 200,000 civilians have been displaced by the military’s aerial attacks as of 17 January 2022.
Due to the escalation of the military’s airstrikes, on 19 January 2022, three ethnic organizations, including the Karen National Union (KNU), the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the Chin National Front (CNF), urged the United Nations, ASEAN and the international community to declare a military no-fly zone and to internationally guarantee the protection of civilians’ safe zones. Those three ethnic organizations urged the international community to declare internationally negotiated humanitarian corridors to provide support to those in need, in response to the proposal of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar – UN-ASEAN humanitarian plus – an aid program that could coordinate and deliver assistance to affected communities through all existing channels.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government released a Newsletter (Volume 2 No. 2) as of 16 January 2022, covering innumerable international crimes committed by the military. The newsletter can be available at https://mofa.nugmyanmar.org/.../newsletter-volume-02-no.../.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 17 January 2022, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar Ms. Noeleen Heyzer met with Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, and urged for the immediate action and cooperation to prevent further deterioration of the situation in Myanmar. She called on the support of Thailand to prevent a deterioration in the crisis in Myanmar and welcomed assurances that those fleeing from the military operations would be protected by the Thai government.
In the UN daily press briefing on 17 January 2022, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Mr. Stéphane Dujarric said that the UN country team in Myanmar are concerned over a further deterioration in the humanitarian and security situation following the recent escalation in fighting in the southeast of Myanmar, particularly in Kayah and Kayin states. The Spokesperson added that since May 2021, the number of internally displaced people has been on the rise in those area, while more than 650 homes and other civilian properties have reportedly been burnt down or destroyed in Kayah State, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). He said that the UN continues to call for safe and unhindered humanitarian access to everyone in need in the area.
In response to the deadly attack on a displacement camp in Southeast of Myanmar, the Secretary-General of Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland issued a statement on 18 January 2021, expressing deep concern on the new wave of violence and fighting targeting civilians in southeast Myanmar, condemning the airstrike attack on 17 January that affected hundreds of people and stressing that this indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians must end. The Secretary-General said, “The fighting is causing death, more displacement and disrupting access to critical services and humanitarian aid. The de facto authorities are responsible under International Humanitarian Law to protect civilians, and we call on them to do their duty.”
Citing the worsening humanitarian situation in Myanmar following the military coup, oil majors Total Energies and Chevron Corp, partners in a major gas project in Myanmar, announced their withdrawal from the country on 21 January 2022. Along with the other firms, Total Energies and Chevron were part of a joint venture operating the Yadana gas project off Myanmar's southwestern coast and the MGTC transportation system carrying gas from the field to the Myanmar/Thailand border, and they are now the latest Western companies withdrawing from Myanmar in the wake of the coup. Total Energies said in a statement that the worsening humanitarian and human rights situation in Myanmar after the coup has led Total Energies to reassess the situation, and as a result, it has decided to withdraw from the Yadana Field and MGTC in Myanmar. Spokesperson from Chevron said, "in light of circumstances in Myanmar, we have reviewed our interest in the Yadana natural gas project to enable a planned and orderly transition that will lead to an exit from the country."
Date: 23 January 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York