Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Already ten months have passed since the coup; the Myanmar military group is still ignoring the will of the people and putting the country into turmoil with disproportionate actions.
As of 25 December 2021, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 1,375 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 11,202 people have been arrested, 8,254 people have still been detained, and 1,964 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021 when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
The military has been intensifying widespread and systematic attacks by air and by land across the country.
Discovery of at least 35 Charred Bodies on Christmas Day
At least 35 charred bodies were reportedly discovered near a village in Karenni State (Kayah State) in the morning of Christmas. The bodies were reportedly found on eight burned vehicles and five motorbikes near the village of Moso, according to the Myanmar Now news.
The Karenni Nationalities Defence Force (KNDF) accused the Myanmar military troops who were present in the area on 24 December. Members of the KNDF reportedly saw smoke billowing out of the parked vehicles on that day. On the following day, the KNDF witnessed the scene of massacre committed by the military. It is reported that a child estimated to be younger than five was among the charred bodies and the bodies were no longer recognizable or identifiable.
According to the KNDF, about 100 troops from the Myanmar military’s Light Infantry Division 66 arrived Hpruso from Demoso on 24 December. The military troops then clashed with a joint force belonging to the KNDF and members of the Karenni Army near Moso village. During the clashes, the military reportedly beat, arrested the villagers and ransacked their property. The KNDF said four members of the Karenni Border Guard Force (BGF) were killed while attempting to stop the military from offending the villagers.
Statement of Save the Children on missing of its Staff: With regard to this inhumane massacre committed by the military, Save the Children issued a statement On 25 December 2021, condemning the military’s attack in Kayah State in Eastern Myanmar, in which at least 38 people including women and children were killed.
The statement expressed that two staff of Save the Children were caught up in the incident, remain missing, and their private vehicle was attacked and burned out, while they were on their way back to base office after conducting humanitarian response work in a nearby community. Inger Ashing, Chief Executive of Save the Children said, “Save the Children condemns this attack as a breach of International Humanitarian Law. We are horrified at the violence carried out against innocent civilians and our staff, who are dedicated humanitarians, supporting millions of children in need across Myanmar. Investigations into the nature of the incident are continuing but attacks against aid workers cannot be tolerated.”
Air Strike Attacks over Lay Kay Kaw
The clashes between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the SAC’s troops in Myawaddy Township in Karen State (Kayin State) have continued to intensify for the sixth straight day since theSAC’s military troops raided Lay Kay Kaw new establishment of KNU controlled area at Dooplalya District of Karen State and arrested a number of civilians in Karen State on 14 December 2021.
In the late evening of 23 December 2021, already bed time for many people in rural area, the military reportedly used war plane to bomb the area of Lay Kay Kaw. It is reportedly that a military aircraft bombed near Lay Kay Kaw immediately before ground troops stationed on a nearby hill started firing heavy artillery towards the village of Mae HtawTha Lay and the initial bombing occurred at around 10 pm. According to the local news, around 40 military vehicles were seen heading to Lay Kay Kaw on the Asian Highway.
The Karen National Union released a statement on the same night and confirmed that two airstrikes had been carried out. It reiterated its call for announcing a no-fly zone in the area.
According to the local news, the military continued artillery attacks in the morning and carried out two air strikes over Lay Kay Kaw in the afternoon on 24 December 2021. Even on Christmas Day, the military did not stop its air strike attacks over Lay Kay Kaw area. In the afternoon of 25 December 2021, the military reportedly carried out another round of air attack by helicopter on the area and there were causalities among civilians.
The military carried out air strikes over the area for three consecutive days starting from 23 December 2021. On 26 December, according to the credible reports, there were clashes between the military troops and the Karen National Liberation Army on the Kawkareik- Myawaddy Asian Highway Road, and the military shot artillery into Lay Kay Kaw.
Due to the excessive use of forces by the military during the clashes, the residents from Lay Kay Kaw and its neighbouring villages had to flee the safe zones. Thousands of the displaced villagers have reportedly crossed into the border of Thailand.
Airstrike over Natchaung Village in Kalay
Similarly, on 23 December 2021, it is reported that the military troops carried out an airstrike from two helicopters on Natchaung Village in Kalay Township of Sagaing Region. In accordance with local sources, the military sent two helicopters to the area at 3 pm of 23 December and fired shots by circling the village from south to north, after an armed resistance group ambushed a military-occupied high school in Natchaung - where some 100 soldiers were stationed - on the morning of this day. According to locals, the military forces raided six houses, stole valuables, and arrested those whom they accused of being connected to the resistance against military. It is also reported that the military’s airstrike damaged homes and monasteries, and the residents of other nearby villages were also displaced due to the attacks.
Attacking and destroying the villages by the Military
According to Myanmar Now News, on 20 December 2021, the military forces raided and assaulted YaeMyet Village, 30 km northwest of Ye-U township of Sagaing Region, by an aerial attack using five helicopters and torched the village. It is reported that after the village was surrounded, the military started shooting, and then a number of building were torched on 20 December. Local residents said that the military has been carrying out operations in the areas of north, south and west of YaeMyet Village following the raid. As a result of military’s attack, around 5,000 people from the neighbouring villages, including Gwet, Naypukone, Euyin, Natgyikone and Sinthaykone, have also been displaced.
According to a local news agency, the military troops raided San Myo Village in Gangaw Township of Magway Region earlier this week, in which a large section of the village has been destroyed by fire. Local villagers said that at least 32 buildings have been burnt to the ground while many others have been ransacked following the departure of military troops. It is also reported that both wooden and brick houses and four shops were destroyed, and furthermore, every single house was raided by the military, all the wardrobes and chests were destroyed, and the military forces took the clothes. According to the local People’s Administration Team, around 13,000 civilians have been displaced by airstrikes and army raids in Gangaw Township.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 24 December 2021, after the military initiated the air strike attacks over Lay Kay Kaw and on Hnan Khar village, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government issued a Statement on the Actions against the Civilians committed by the Military amounting to Crimes against Humanity. It stressed that the military’s widespread and systematic attacks against the civilians in Lay Kay Kaw and Hnan Khar amounted to crimes against humanity. Since the first day of the military coup d’etat in February, the Myanmar military has been violating fundamental and peremptory norms of the international laws and committing serious human rights violations. The root cause of such continued violations and lack of respect for international laws and conventions is clearly due to the decades-long impunity enjoyed by the Myanmar military.
It also reiterated that to end the military dictatorship and to be able to bring accountability to those perpetrators of such heinous crimes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government will expand its engagements with the international community through diplomatic efforts, including the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies, the ASEAN and other institutions.
The National Unity Government (NUG) issued Statement entitled “Announcement addressing the Christmas massacre in Karenni State” on 25 December 2021. In the Announcement, it is stated that the National Unity Government (NUG) received reports of a new civilian massacre by the military forces in Karenni State on 24 December 2021 (Christmas Eve), which the terrorist military group conducted Special Clearance Operation near Moso Village in Hpruso Township.
The announcement also underlined that the military group (Light Infantry Battalion 108 under Light Infantry Division 66) blocked the road, subsequently detained an unconfirmed number of the villagers and travellers, and destroyed their properties, as well as between 35-40 villagers including children, women and elders were bound and burnt to death together with 11 vehicles. It is also highlighted that the military group have exercised extreme terror tactics against the Myanmar people by arresting, killing and burning people alive. As the world celebrates Christmas and its message of peace, the National Unity Government (NUG) repeats its demand on the international community to act immediately and decisively to end the military’s escalating war crimes and crimes against humanity against the people of Myanmar.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
In the statementfor end of his mission to Bangladesh issued on 19 December 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar expressed that the Myanmar military’s attacks against its own people, the systematic land clearance in Rakhine State, and the ongoing discrimination against the Rohingya in law and practice continue. The Special Rapporteur stated that he will do everything in his capacity to push for a stronger, more coordinated international response to the crisis, including the imposition of pressure on the Myanmar military and for concrete measures to hold the military fully accountable for the crisis.
At the UN daily press briefing on 21 December 2021, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General FarhanHaq said that the UN country team in Myanmar remains deeply concerned over increasing internal displacement and more people need humanitarian assistance as a result of ongoing crisis in the country. According to the UN country teams, the Deputy Spokesperson stated that the urgent access for humanitarian partners is needed to deliver aids to people in need, and in addition, there is particular concern over the lack of access to Mindat township in north-eastern Myanmar, where there has been heavy fighting and displacement in recent months.He said that the UN and its humanitarian partners have been able to reach at least 2.4 million out of the 3 million people in need of assistance in 2021, with only 58 per cent of the $385 million in funding requested. He added it is estimated for 2022 that 14.4 million people will need humanitarian aid in Myanmar, and among these, 6.2 million people will be prioritized for urgent assistance, and $826 million will be required to meet these needs.
In response to the Myanmar military’s announcement to end the hosting of the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar, the Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary‑General said at the United Nations daily press Briefing on 23 December 2021 that the in-country presence of the Office of the Special Envoy will remain important and the recently appointed Special Envoy on Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer looks forward to strengthening cooperation with all stakeholders in Myanmar. He explained that in line with the commitment of the United Nations and the calls of the Security Council to support the people of Myanmar and promote peace, the Special Envoy on Myanmar hopes to understand the situation on the ground and listen carefully to all stakeholders to mobilize greater international support to end the ongoing crisis in the country.
On 24 December 2021, in response to the military attacks on civilians in Karen State, the Ambassadors, Chargés d'Affaires, and Heads of Mission from Australia, Canada, the Delegation of the EU, European Union Member States with presence in Myanmar, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States issued joint statement. Reiterating their condemnation of the Myanmar military’s serious human rights violations across the county, the statement underlined that the recent attacks on civilians in Karen State, including the shelling of villages, are a violation of International Humanitarian Law, and have resulted in thousands of people displaced, who are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The statement called on the military to immediately cease its indiscriminate attacks in Karen State and throughout the country, and to ensure the safety of all civilians in line with international law.
Date: 26 December 2021
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York