Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (25 July 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been over 17 months since 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 25 July 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,120 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, 14,870 people have been arrested and a total of 11,782 people remain in detention, whereas a total of 113 people have been sentenced to death of which 72 people who are detained and 41 in absentia, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Raiding the villages in Yinmabin Township and detaining civilians
According to Myanmar Now, the military troops raided a village in Yinmabin Township of Sagaing Region, and detained at least 50 internally displaced persons as hostages since the weekend during 16 and 17 July 2022. It is reported that those detained include children, elderly people, and at least two individuals with disabilities. Local residents said that due to the military raids in the region, the victims have been sheltering in farm huts, a monastery and a school in BantBway Village (aka Ywar Ma) within Sagaing Region.
A local villager said that they are very worried for the hostages detained by the military because the military forces have already massacred several internally displaced persons in MoneTaing Pin Village in Ye-U Township of Sagaing Region recently.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that the military forces raided Kyauk Mhaw Village in Yinmabin Township of Sagaing Region on 23 July 2022, and fired gun, forcing the local villagers flee. Local residents said that the military forces arrested many civilians and took private properties. It is reported that over 30 civilians were detained by the military. Of them, 5 people were seriously injured, as they were brutally beaten by the military forces.
Attacking villages in Sagaing Region and brutally killing civilians
According to Myanmar Now News, the military ground troops and military helicopters attacked Kyi Su Village in Kanbalu Township, Thar Wut Hti Village in Khin-U Township and several others in the area within Sagaing Region on 18 July 2022. During the military’s ground attack and air strikes, most of the victims in Kyi Su Village were the members of a village defence team. The defence team leader said that the members of the defence team were captured, as they did not have guns, just sticks and swords.
Local residents said that they have found the bodies of a dozen people killed by the military forces during their raids. In Kyi Su Village, ten of the bodies were discovered, in which one was found in the evening of 19 July 2022, and the other nine were found the next day. In Thar Wut Hti Village, the other two bodies were discovered on 19 July 2022.
Furthermore, it is said that in Kyi Su Village, roughly half of the village’s houses were destroyed by fire, most of the bodies have been burned, and the bodies could not be identified.
Shelling heavy artilleries in Villages of Kyaikto Township
According to Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the military troops fired 9 heavy artilleries in Zeepyaung Village and Winkan Village in Kyaikto Township of Mon State on 19 July 2022. It is the second time of shelling heavy artilleries by the military, after these villages have been attacked with about 50 heavy artilleries from 10 July to 12 July 2022. Due to the excessive use of force by the military in an indiscriminate manner, over 4,000 local people were forced to flee. It is reported that the displaced people are facing the difficulties for food, medicine and shelter.
Conducting heavy airstrike in Kachin State
According to the Irrawaddy, there has been clashes between the military forces and the combined Kachin Independence Army (KIA) troops and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) near Sezin Village in Hpakant Township of Kachin State on 16 July 2022, and then on 19 July 2022, the military troops conducted heavy airstrike in the area, to attack against the forces of KIA and PDF and to allow trapped troops to escape from Hpakant Township.
It is reported that on 19 July 2022, the military’s two jets and a helicopter conducted about 20 attacks over several hours, and due to their excessive use of force, a teenager villager was seriously injured and lost a hand.
Furthermore, it is said that two helicopters of the military deployed reinforcements and food to Sezin Village and the clashes continued on 20 July 2022. Due to the heavy airstrike attacks of the military forces, local residents have fled, while hundreds of civilians were trapped in the area.
Torching and destroying the villages in Sagaing Region
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that the military column consisting of over 100 troops raided villages in Kawlin Township of Sagaing Region on 21 July 2022. Local residents said that the military forces torched and destroyed a School in Nawgone Village and about 30 houses in Kanlelgyi Village within Kawlin Township. When the military column entered the villages, local villagers fled to nearby villages. It is reported that those displaced people are in need of food and medicine.
It is reported that the military troops entered into and stationed at Kin Mon Chon Village in Kalay Township of Sagaing Region on 21 July 2022, where there have been happening intense fighting between the military troops and the local resistance members. Local residents said that on 21 July 2022, the military forces burned down the houses, and on 22 July 2022, they again torched and destroyed the houses in the village. Local residents had to flee and are currently facing the difficulties for shelter.
According to Myanmar Now, the military forces shot and killed two young men namely Wai Yan and Toe Gyi in Hlaing Tharyar Township of Yangon on 18 July 2022, for driving through a military checkpoint. It is reported that the two victims were travelling together on a motorcycle on the day of incident, and they were ordered by the military troops to stop at the Shwe Lin Pan bridge on KyanSitthar Road. When they failed to stop, the military forces fired at them. It is reported that Wai Yan was killed at the scene and Toe Gyi died of his injuries after he was admitted to the hospital.
According to the Irrawaddy, the military troops killed a six-year-old boy and his parents in Mong Hsu Township in southern Shan State on 18 July 2022. Local residents said that they were shot dead near a military outpost on the Mong Hsu-Tangyan road, while they were driving back to their village from Mong Hsu Township.
According to AAPP, the military forces raided Shin Min Dway Village in Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region on 20 July 2022, and captured a member of National League for Democracy (NLD) named Aung Naing Win. He was fatally shot while he was trying to escape. It is reported that his body was later discovered inside one of the houses which have been set on fire.
On 15 July 2022, the military forces arrested a civilian named Hnin Nway Lwin, a high school teacher at Myo Thar High School in Ngayun Township of Mandalay Region. It is reported that she was involved in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).
AAPP reported that on 17 July 2022, the military forces arrested two teachers namely Zaw Htet (aka Shwe Mann) and Nay Linn, who participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). They were arrested in Kengtung Township in Shan State. It is reported that they became English teachers after joining CDM, and they were accused of teaching without permission and for allegedly inciting violence.
According to the news, on 19 July 2022, the military forces arrested a civilian named Moe Moe Aung from Tamu Township in Sagaing Region. She was accused of being a member of the People Defence’s Force.
Improperly charging and sentencing civilians
According to the news, the special court in Insein Prison in Yangon sentenced a freelance journalist named Nyein Nyein Aye (aka Maybal) to three years imprisonment with hard labour under Section 505 (a) of the penal code on 14 July 2022.
According to AAPP, Mandalay Regional Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, who is already sentenced to 26 years imprisonment, was sentenced to three more years on 20 July 2022. It is reported that the special court in Obo Prison charged him under section 130-a of the Penal Code for alleged violations against the electoral laws.
Judgement of ICJ on Myanmar’ preliminary objections
On 22 July 2022, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered its judgment on the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar). The judgement of ICJ rejects four preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the claim, clears the way for substantive hearings on the atrocities directed against the Rohingya during military operations in 2016 and 2017.
The Military’s Execution of Myanmar Activists
According to the news, the military announced on 25 July 2022 that it had executed Myanmar activists detained namely U Jimmy (a celebrated pro-democracy activist), U Phyo Zeyar Thaw (a former parliamentarian), U Hla Myo Aung and U Aung Thuya Zaw. It is the first time in over three decades that political dissidents have been executed in Myanmar.
According to the military-controlled newspaper – Global New Light of Myanmar, the Myanmar activists had been charged under the Counter-Terrorism Law and sentenced to death by a military tribunal in Yangon for murdering innocent civilians. It also stated that the punishment has been conducted under the prison’s procedures.
Myanmar Now reported that the families of those executed were invited to the Insein Prison in Yangon on 22 July 2022, and allowed to communicate with them from a building within the prison’s precincts via Zoom. The Irrawaddy News reported that the executions were carried out on 23 July 2022. The prison’s authorities failed to explain their family members satisfactorily on how and when they were executed and location of cremation. Later, it is learnt that their bodies were cremated at Htein Pin cemetery in Yangon.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 19 July 2022, Ambassador H.E. Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar delivered a statement at the UN Security Council Open Debate on “Children and Armed Conflict”, and urged the UN Security Council to take swift and decisive action, in accordance with its Charter responsibilities and children and armed conflict resolutions, to end military violence against children, stop military use of schools and hospitals and release all arbitrarily detained children. The Ambassador also urged that the Council must also do everything it can to bring the perpetrators of grave violations against children to justice and help aid workers get safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to children in need, especially those displaced by conflicts not only in Myanmar but also in other conflict situations.
On 22 July 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement on the Judgement of the International Court of Justice on preliminary objections in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar). The statement welcomes the Judgement of the International Court of Justice, which straightforwardly rejects all objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the claim, clears the way for substantive hearings on the atrocities directed against the Rohingya during military operations in 2016 and 2017.
The statement underlined that the hearing on those objections need not have proceeded. The National Unity Government, as the proper representative of Myanmar in the case, formally communicated to the ICJ on 10 February 2022 that it accepted the Court’s jurisdiction and withdrew all preliminary objections. Stating that accountability and reparations for the Rohingya must remain the driving imperative, the National Unity Government will continue to extend its full cooperation to the ICJ in the case.
According to the statement, the National Unity Government has also submitted an Article 12(3) Declaration to the International Criminal Court (ICC), accepting the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to international crimes, including genocide, committed in Myanmar since 2002. Furthermore, the statement said that the National Unity Government will also continue to share evidence with the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) and with national prosecution services to advance accountability efforts in other jurisdictions.
On 25 July 2022, the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement, in response to the military’s executions of Myanmar activists namely U Kyaw Min Yu (aka U Jimmy), U Phyo Zeyar Thaw, U Hla Myo Aung and U Aung Thuya Zaw. The statement urged the international institutions and allied countries that treasure and value democracy and human rights to put pressure to bear on the terrorist military to stop their atrocities and in future to lend a helping hand to, and stand together with the Myanmar people, Committee Representing Pyithu Hluttaw (CRPH), National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), National Unity Government (NUG), Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs) and democracy activists and as result ending fascism in Myanmar.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 18 July 2022, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the three-year-imprisonment sentenced on a women journalist (freelancer) named Nyein Nyein Aye, which she was charged on 14 July 2022 by a court in Yangon for spreading “false news.” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on UN officials to do something to stop the current surge in prison sentences that the Journalists in Myanmar are facing.
On 20 July 2022, the withdrawal of Total Energies from Myanmar becomes effective, in accordance with its decision to withdraw from Yadana field and from gas transportation company MGTC in Myanmar which was announced on 21 January 2022. As it definitely withdraws from Myanmar, Total Energies repeats its condemnation of the abuses and human rights violations taking place in Myanmar, as well as reaffirms its support to the people of Myanmar and its hope for a swift return to peace and rule of law.
The military’s barbaric extrajudicial executions of Myanmar political activists received the strongest condemnations from the international community and the states including the U.S, France, Switzerland, Germany and Japan. In a joint statement issued on 25 July 2022, the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, and the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States condemned the military’s executions of pro-democracy activists in Myanmar, and described the executions as reprehensible acts of violence that further exemplify the military junta’s disregard for human rights and the rule of law.
On 25 July 2022, the UN Secretary-General strongly condemned the executions carried out by the Myanmar military against four Myanmar political activists, and reiterated his call for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including the President and State Counsellor.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, and the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions, Morris Tidball-Binz, condemned the Military’s executions of four individuals who were detained. They said, “these depraved acts must be a turning point for the international community. What more must the junta do before the international community is willing to take strong action?" They added that in addition to the widespread and systematic murders of protesters, and indiscriminate attacks against the entire villages, the current executions of political activists demand an immediate and firm response by member states of the United Nations. The UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet condemns in the strongest terms the executions of four democracy activists by the Myanmar military despite repeated calls by the international community to not carry out death sentences. The High Commissioner called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and others arbitrarily detained.
According to the ASEAN Chairman’s statement, ASEAN denounces and is strongly disappointed by the military’s executions of four political activists in Myanmar despite the appeals by the ASEAN Chair and other ASEAN Member States for the sentences to be reconsidered. The statement said that ASEAN remains resolved to assist Myanmar’s return to normalcy and democratic transition and to find a peaceful political solution to the current crisis through inclusive dialogue, in line with the ASEAN 5-points Consensus and the ASEAN Charter. It also underlined that this is urgently needed to prevent further loss of lives and end the suffering of the people of Myanmar.
Date: 25 July 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York