Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (25 December 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
About one year and eleven 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 23 December 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,641 people, arrested 16,592 people, and 13,116 people remain in detention, whereas 139 people have been sentenced to death, including 97 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 900 houses and buildings have been sealed off by the military between February 2021 and November 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
On 22 December 2022, during the clash between the military forces and the fighters from a coalition of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and People Defence Force (PDF), the military forces fired an artillery shell that landed in Kawt Nwe Village, killing a former boxer named Phoe Sanay. This artillery shell hit him in the thigh, and he died from blood loss.
Using the video recording of Inhumane Torture
According to the news, an American citizen agriculturalist from the Daw Khin Kyi Foundation named U Kyaw Htay Oo, who had been in the military’s detention center, said that the military forces video recorded their torture, while they tortured and killed a teacher named U Zaw Myat Lin, and used this recording to terrorize him at the military’s detention center. The video record included the military’s inhumane acts of torture, pouring acid into the mouth of U Zaw Myat Lin and punching bamboo sticks into his mouth.
It was reported that U Kyaw Htay Oo was arrested by the military in September 2021 and was tortured during his arrest. He was released and deported in November 2022.
Attacking and destroying houses in the villages of Depayin Township
The Irrawaddy reported on 19 December 2022 that the military’s latest arson campaign in eastern Depayin Township started on 1 December 2022.
It was reported that during two arson attacks by the military in December, 318 of 500 houses in Na Myar Village were destroyed. In December, having raided the villages on the border with Ye-U Township, the military forces have forced 310,00 civilians from 31 villages in Depayin Township to flee their homes.
Raiding the villages and killing a child in Kanbalu Township
According to the news, 60 military troops and the members of the Phyu Saw Htee paramilitary group entered Zee Pin Thar Village in Kanbalu Township of Sagaing Region during the night of 19 December 2022. The local villagers were hiding inside an outhouse, and when the military forces found the people hiding, they started shooting. It was reported that following the incident, 14 bullet shells were discovered.
During the attack, the military forces fired on and torched two houses, and a 13-year-old boy named Thuta Zaw, who was one of those who were hiding inside the outhouse, was shot dead.
Mizzima News reported that from November 2021 to November 2022, the military has killed 81 civilians in Kanbulu District of Sagaing Region, according to the Kyunhla Activist Organization. The Organization said that 81 civilians were shot, burned alive and killed, of which 19 were from Kyunhla Township and 62 were from Kanbalu Township within Kanbulu District.
Raiding the villages, torching the houses and murdering the civilians in Indaw Township
Myanmar Now News reported that starting from 16 December 2022, the military forces entered Indaw Township of Sagaing Region, and then they raided six villages for the next five days, including the villages of Nyaung Kone, Gyone Gyone Kya, Gyone Gyone Kya Myothit, Ma Au Kone, and Pain Inn, in the southern part of the township. The source said that during the first three days, the military column of 100 troops clashed with a combined force of the Indaw PDF and Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and then the military forces torched dozens of houses.
It was said that the military forces murdered at least four civilians during their series of attacks within the township. On 20 December 2022, fighting also occurred, when the military forces left Set Taw Kone Village, where more than 70 houses and barns were burned down.
Arresting Rohingya in Bogale Township
Mizzima News reported that at the night of 20 December 2022, the military forces arrested 115 Rohingya, including 60 men, 43 women and 12 juveniles, on Katonelay Island in Bogale Township of Ayeyarwady Region, for travelling without permission from Rakhine State to Ayeyarwady Region. The source said that those arrested are being detained at Bogale Police Station, and the police are working on charging them under the Registration Act.
AAPP reported that on 19 December 2022, the military court of Ahlone District sentenced a civilian named Thiri Wai (aka Ma Wai) to two concurrent sentences of 10-years’ imprisonment inside Insein Prison, under charges of Counter-Terrorism Law Sections 50(i) and (j). It was reported that her 3-year-old son named Thant Bhone Waiyan was taken as a hostage by the military forces on 5 April 2022.
On 19 December 2022, a special court in Pyapon Prison sentenced an advocate from Bogale Township of Ayeyarwady Region named U San Lwin and eight others to two years in prison. It was reported that most of them are NLD members, and all of them were arrested for allegedly participating in protests in 2021.
Myanmar Now News reported that on 21 December 2022, a former police guard and the deputy head of the President’s Office security team named Aung Naing Oo was charged, and his years of imprisonment was extended by five years. According to the source, he was arrested in November 2021 and charged under Section 3(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act for allegedly sharing military-related information with anti-regime forces. He has already been sentenced to 10 years in prison under Section 52(a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, and with this conviction and the current extension of imprisonment, he now faces a total of 15 years in prison.
Sentencing Media Professionals
On 21 December 2022, the military court of Kyeemyindaing Township inside Insein Prison sentenced two reporters, namely Kaung Set Linn and Hmu Yadanar Khet Moet Moet Tun to serve three years in prison with hard labor, under charges of Penal Code Section 505(A). The source said that both of them work for the Myanmar Press Photo Agency (MPA), and they were arrested by the military forces on 5 December 2021, after being hit by a car in Kyeemyindaing Township of Yangon Region. It was further reported that Hmu Yadanar Khet Moet Moet Tun is facing trial at Yangon Eastern District Court on the charge of Counter-Terrorism Law Section 50(j). She has had to receive medical treatment, as her left leg was broken when the car crashed into her, and she is currently using crutches and a wheelchair for mobility.
Displacement Situations in the South-East of Myanmar
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) updated the weekly highlights of displacement overview in the South-East of Myanmar on 21 December 2022. According to this report, the number of Internally displacement Persons (IDPs) in the South-East of Myanmar increased from 338,200 to 338,400 as of 19 December 2022.
This weekly update covered the displacement overview in Bago Region and Tanintharyi Region, as well as in Kayin State, Mon State, Shan State and Kayah State.
In Bago Region (East), about 130 people from Kyaukkyi and Shwegyin Townships were verified in Phyu Township. In Kayin State, due to increased fighting, airstrikes and indiscriminate shelling, 660 people were displaced within Kawkareik Township. In Mon State, IDPs from Bilin Township were displaced again to Kyaikto Township following fighting between the Tatmadaw and Karen National Liberation Army alliance forces on 14 December.
In Shan State (South), 650 people were displaced to Hsihseng Township, from Demoso and Loikaw Townships in Kayah State. However, in Pekon Township, 400 IDPs returned to their place of origin. In Kayah State, about 1,200 IDPs returned to their places of origin in Demoso Township. In Tanintharyi Region, 150 people were displaced to the forest of Bokepyin and Dawei Townships following armed conflict on the 15 December, and conversely, about 20 IDPs returned to their places of origin in Dawei Township.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 19 December 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG) issued a statement (19/2022), welcoming the addressing of Myanmar in the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit Joint Leaders’ Statement adopted on 14 December 2022. The Joint Statement called for the immediate cessation of violence in Myanmar, for the release of all political detainees, and for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to all persons in need without discrimination. In addition, the EU and ASEAN Leaders denounced the execution of four pro-democracy activists in July, as well as called on the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair to build “confidence and trust with full access to all parties concerned.” The NUG statement said that the joint statement stopped short of expressing support for the NUG as the legitimate representative of the Myanmar people, and it also failed to condemn the illegal military junta’s atrocities. It stated that the joint statement does, however, make a notable EU-ASEAN commitment to “redouble” collective efforts towards a “peaceful solution in Myanmar that also reflect a continued commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms”. The statement mentioned that the NUG stands ready to work in partnership with the EU and ASEAN to act on their redoubled efforts and to help solve the multiple junta-induced crises destabilising the peace and security of the region.
On 22 December 2022, the National Unity Government (NUG) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar issued a statement on the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution on the situation in Myanmar, offering the deep gratitude to the United Kingdom for its leadership in the process of drafting and adopting the resolution and to all others who support the resolution. The statement said that the will and interests of the people are clear and continue to be expressed each day by millions of brave individuals protesting, maintaining a general strike, and defending their villages and families against the military’s atrocities, and this resolution is a welcome step towards supporting them. The statement highlighted that the Security Council’s work only begins with this resolution, and it should remain more regularly seized of the matter as a priority, including by receiving formal updates directly from representatives of Myanmar and its people. It added that decisive action by the Security Council is needed to save lives of the people of Myanmar and prevent further destabilization of the region.
On the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution on the situation in Myanmar, Ambassador H.E. Mr Kyaw Moe Tun, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations provided remarks at the Media Stakeout on 23 December 2022. The Permanent Representative stated that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as represented by the NUG, welcomes the adoption of the UNSC Resolution on the situation in Myanmar and offered its deep gratitude. He explained that the resolution demonstrates the Security Council’s progress in taking action on the serious crisis in Myanmar and the junta’s threats to international peace and stability. He added that despite the positive elements contained in the resolution and the challenges to adoption, Myanmar would have liked to see a stronger text. The Permanent Representative underlined that the NUG calls on the UNSC, building on this resolution, to take further and stronger action to ensure the swift end of the military junta and its crimes.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 21 December 2022, the United Nations Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years – resolution 2669 (2022) – by a vote of 12 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (China, India, Russian Federation), calling for an immediate end to all forms of violence throughout the country and urging restraint and the de-escalation of tensions. The resolution also urged the Myanmar military to immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including the President and State Counsellor of Myanmar. The Security Council reiterated its call to uphold democratic institutions and processes and pursue constructive dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar, as well as underlined that all parties must respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Acknowledging the central role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis, the council encouraged the international community to support the ASEAN-led mechanism and process in this regard.
Having passed a UK-led resolution on Myanmar by the UN Security Council, the Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN highlighted on 21 December 2022, that the Security Council needs to take stronger action to address the situation in Myanmar. The UK’s Permanent Representative explained that the resolution seeks to unite the international community to address the worsening crisis in the country, and it is an important first step towards further actions of the Council. It was also said that the UK condemns the military in Myanmar and its deliberate use of violence against those who are calling for democracy.
On the same day, the United States welcomed the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution on Myanmar, noting it as an important step by the Security Council to address the crisis and to end the military’s escalating repression and violence against civilians in the country. While applauding the adoption of this resolution, the United States underlined that the Council still has much more work to do, and it should leverage this opportunity to seek additional ways to promote a return to the path of democracy, to advance accountability for the military’s actions, and to support ASEAN’s efforts for the implementation process of the Five Point Consensus. The United States added that it remains committed to working with the UN and the international partners, including ASEAN, to end the violence and seek a peaceful reconciliation to the crisis in Myanmar.
Regarding the adoption of this resolution, the Human Rights Watch remarked that the Security Council’s adoption is a momentous step on behalf of the people of Myanmar, opening the door towards holding Myanmar’s brutal military generals to account, and it reflects the growing isolation of the military of Myanmar due to their abuses amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Asia Director of Human Rights Watch Elaine Pearson said on 21 December 2022, “The resolution should bring renewed scrutiny to the junta’s daily atrocities and recognition of the Myanmar people’s brave efforts towards democracy and freedom.”
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said, “With the adoption of this resolution, the Security Council has finally taken a small but important step to acknowledge the dire situation in Myanmar. The Council must now follow up with regular open meetings and enforce its demands with additional resolutions under Chapter VII.”
In response to the adoption of the resolution on Myanmar by the UN Security Council, Thomas Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, stated on 22 December 2022 that the crisis in Myanmar will worsen unless and until Member States of the UN respond with action. He said, “It is clearly time for the creation of a working coalition of nations who are willing to stand with the people of Myanmar by providing what they need most – action.”
On 23 December 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Thomas Andrews issued a statement, appealing for the immediate rescue of Rohingya refugees in distress on a vessel in the Andaman Sea. The Special Rapporteur said that the regional governments in South and Southeast Asia should prioritise safety and human rights, as well as ensure coordinated search and rescue operations. He urged all governments from the region to develop and coordinate a more humane regional response to those fleeing the Myanmar military’s brutal violence, including the Rohingya.
Date: 25 December 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York