top of page
  • Writer's pictureMyanmar Mission To UN

Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (26 Feb 2023)


Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar


(26-02-2023)


More than two years ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the elected 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 24 February 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 3,030 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 19,866 people have been arrested and a total of 144 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 103 (including two children) are detained and 41 remain 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 death sentences were executed by the military junta in July 2022.


Violations committed by the military


Imposing Martial Law in three more townships in Sagaing Region


On 23 February 2023, the terrorist junta has imposed martial law on three more townships in Sagaing Region. As a result, a total of 40 townships have been placed under direct military control. According to junta’s announcement on 23 February, martial law has been imposed in Shwebo, Ayadaw and Wetlet townships in Sagaing Region.


Raiding, killing, torching and looting villages in Sagaing Region


According to news reports, on 16 February 2023, junta police from the Chaung-U police station looted the wheat being sold by five individuals, Kyauk Khae, Myat Phyo Shwe, Arr Noe, Hla Toe, and Kyaw Zin Tun, in the Naga Ni Broker Sales Center in Chaung-U Town, Sagaing Region. The police also reportedly seized more than 10 million kyats, which the individuals had earned from selling wheat and two tractors. The five individuals are from Htu Ni Village, Chaung-U Township.


According to the AAPP, on 17 February 2023, 120 personnel, including junta forces from Light Infantry Battalion 368 and pro-junta Pyu Saw Htee militias, launched an offensive from Inn Lel Gyi Village in Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region. The junta personnel reportedly burned alive on a tractor two members of the Kanbalu Underground Warriors (KUW), Wine Chit and Zaw Myo Linn, who encountered them near a KUW base.

Kidnapping civilians as hostages

According to Myanmar Now News, on 17 February 2023, the junta forces kidnapped seventeen villagers as hostages along their retreat after a day of fighting with local resistance forces in Taung Balu Village, Kawlin Township, Sagaing Region. The junta forces in Wuntho fired 19 rounds of artillery during that conflict and they could retreat only after receiving reinforcements of 100 junta soldiers in the afternoon. According to a member of a local defence team in Kanbalu Township, among the seventeen captives, thirteen were from Kathit Kone Village, one from Hle Pwel Village, and three from Kya Khat Ai Village. Local villagers who witnessed the events said that the hostages were beaten by the junta soldiers on the way to Koe Taung Boet Village. According to the news, there were also some unconfirmed reports that one of the abductees had been beaten to death with a metal rod and that some of the others had been slashed with knives. The safety of those abductees was unknown at the time of reporting.


Killing innocent civilians


According to news report, at around 6:30 p.m. on 19 February 2023, junta forces came to a Shan noodle shop in Shwe Hpone Shein Ward in Mahaaungmyay Township, Mandalay Region, and arrested the shop owner, Aung Win Htut (aka Ko Aung), who was a staunch NLD supporter. At 9 p.m. on the same day, the junta told his family to come and collect his body at Police Station No. 7. Upon retrieving his body, his family found that he had injuries consistent with beatings.


The AAPP reported that indiscriminate gunfire by junta forces killed Paing Thet Kyaw and Pauk on 20 February 2023. The two victims were residents of Pint Thar Li Village in Yedashe Township, Bago Region.


On 21 February 2023 at 12:30 a.m., junta soldiers shot and killed Than Oo, who ran a brick making business in Bago Region. Than Oo was shot near Thar Si Village, where he lived, in Gyobingauk Township, Bago Region. He was returning home after attending a performance of a Burmese traditional orchestra during a special ceremony for the placing of a religious umbrella on a pagoda. The ceremony was held at Bar Kha Yar Monastery in Nwe Khwe Ward, Gyobingauk Township. At around 6 a.m., junta soldiers took his body to the 100-bed hospital in Pyay Town.


Arresting innocent civilians


On the morning of 21 February 2023, three teenagers from Pakokku Township, Magway Region, namely, Kyaw Zaw Hein, 16; Ye Linn Aung, 17; and Phoe Thingyan, 17; were arrested by the junta forces. They were accused of being members of the people’s defence forces. According to news reports, the junta took the three to the Pakokku Township Police Station and interrogated them. It was reported that Kyaw Zaw Hein and Ye Linn Aung were arrested while they were walking on Pakokku-Myaing Road whereas the location where Phoe Thingyan was arrested has not been verified at the time of reporting.


According to the AAPP, on 23 February 2023, junta forces arrested Min Min Oo and interrogated him at Mawrawady Naval Base in Yebyu Township, Tanintharyi Region. Reportedly, Min Min Oo is from Zar Di Village, Zar Di Village Tract, in Yebyu Township, and at the time of reporting, there was no information regarding the reason for his arrest.


Airstrikes, heavy artillery, and other targeting of civilian areas


According to news reports, on 15 February 2023, junta forces indiscriminately fired heavy weaponry at villages in Bago Region after an intense clash between the Yedashe PDF and the junta’s Light Infantry Battalion 84 near Doe Tan Village Tract in Yedashe Township, Bago Region. The heavy artillery attacks killed on the spot both Kyi Lwin from Doe Tan Village and three-year-old Ei Ei Phyo from Aye Thar Yar Kone Village. Being seriously injured during the explosion, Ei Ei Phyo’s mother Nweat Nweat Soe, died on 18 February 2023 while receiving treatment at Yedashe People’s Hospital.


According to Myanmar Now News, the junta’s airstrikes on Daybunoh and Taw Tee Pel Villages on 14 and 15 February 2023 destroyed a school and six homes. In addition, the junta jets flying over three villages of Hpa-an District, Karen State on 18 February 2023 made local residents flee their villages, as they feared the junta’s impending attacks. The news reported that teachers, students and their families in Hpa-an said that they were concerned that schools in their district could be bombed as well. There is a primary, middle and high school administered by the Karen Education and Culture Department in the area of Hpa-an where the jets were most recently seen. According to one of the teachers, all of the students are taking shelter in the forests and the teachers had to make preparations in the forests for them to be able to take their annual exams.


On 18 February 2023, the junta forces, which reportedly stationed in Tone Taw Village in Kyaukkyi Township, fired heavy weaponry into Kyun Taw Village in Kyaukkyi Township, Bago Region. An artillery shell exploded on a house in Kyun Taw Village, killed Myint Myint San and injured five-year and twelve-year-old children. All three were in the house when the shell exploded.


According to Irrawaddy News Media, on 21 February 2023, fighting broke out between the junta forces and the combined force of People’s Defense Forces (PDF) near Nwarmatwin and Minywar Villages of Ayadaw Township, Sagaing Region. On 22 February 2023, a junta MI-35 helicopter launched airstrikes at Minywar Village, destroying around 50 houses. According to a spokesperson of local resistance group Danger Force, more airstrikes were launched on 23 February 2023, when an MI-35 helicopter opened fire while two MI-17 helicopters dropped regime soldiers in Malaethar Village, around three miles from Minywar Village. According to him, the PDFs were able to rescue residents trapped in Malaethar Village during the night of 23 February. The news reported that Malaethar Village was previously raided by junta forces in 2022, and around 150 of the village’s more than 1000 homes have been destroyed.

Extorting money on highways

According to Irrawaddy News, the junta forces have been extorting money from civilian drivers and travelers at the many newly established military checkpoints across the country. The news reported that thousands of military checkpoints have emerged, popping up at the entrance to every town, township and highway nationwide. Every vehicle is stopped, purportedly for security reasons, and all occupants checked to see if they are following COVD-19 regulations and are carrying citizen identification cards and travel permissions. The junta forces also check the validity of the vehicles’ registrations. According to truck drivers and other civilians, they had been asked for money by soldiers and police manning the checkpoints. They also said that any vehicle that fails to stop is in danger of being shot at. People, including passengers traveling in coaches, face unnecessary questioning and threats from the security forces if their ID is found to have expired, or if they have committed some other minor infraction. Junta personnel also threaten to detain civilians and seize their vehicles if they don’t pay the bribes. The only way to get through a checkpoint is to pay the amount the junta forces ask for. According to truck drivers who transports goods and charcoal products from a township in Mandalay Region to the commercial capital Yangon, during a single trip recently they encountered more than twenty checkpoints and were forced to pay a total of 700,000 Myanmar kyats (US$333 at the current exchange rate) to soldiers and police. The driver added that even drivers of vehicles that have proper travel documents are required to pay. A container truck driver who often transports goods from Yangon to Mandalay via the old Yangon-Mandalay highway said that they had to pay 40,000 kyats for a regime-issued permit to pass through the Naypyitaw area. Trucks bearing the permit cards can pass through military checkpoints in Naypyitaw without facing inspection, but the cards are only valid for one month.


Junta’s blockade causing rice and fuel shortages in Kachin State

According to Irrawaddy News, since early February 2023, the terrorist junta has blocked the deliveries of rice and fuel to Hpakant in Kachin State claiming the reason being due to the presence of Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) fighters in Hpakant. This blockade of necessary goods has made residents starve as a result of shortages. The residents can’t buy rice and shops and gas stations have closed. The ban has resulted in the price of normal rice increasing from 40,000 kyats per sack to over 100,000 kyats (around US$40) during the second and third weeks of February alone. The price of gasoline has risen from 3,000 kyats per litre to 5,000 kyats. The news also reported that at some junta checkpoints, individuals are allowed to bring in rice for their own household consumption, but they have to pay a tax of 3,000 to 5,000 kyats per sack. Residents also said that only people with ties to the regime are allowed to transport fuel.


Activities of the National Unity Government


On 20 February 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) issued Weekly Newsletter No.8/2023, containing articles related to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included the remarks by the NUG Acting President to establish friendships and alliances with neighboring countries, the NUG announcement welcoming Singapore’s prohibition of arms transfers to Myanmar, the NUG Ministry of Defence calling for volunteer air scouts and the Ministry of Education partnering with EdX to deliver tertiary education programs for up to 5,000 students.


On 20 February 2023, H.E. Daw Zin Mar Aung, Union Minister for Foreign Affairs and H.E. U Moe Zaw Oo, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs met with Myanmar nationals residing in San Francisco, U.S.A. During the meeting, the Union Minister and the Deputy Minister explained the ongoing activities and the future plans of the National Unity Government.


On 22 February 2023, H.E. U Aung Myo Min, Union Minister for Human Rights, attended the event held on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the revolution since 1 February 2021 and six-year-anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide, organized at the U.S. Permanent Mission in Geneva, Switzerland. During the event, the Minister delivered remarks regarding the Rohingyas in Myanmar and the activities of the National Unity Government for the Rohingyas. Ambassador Mrs. Michèle Taylor from the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Ms. Naomi Kikoler, Director in charge of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Rohingya activist Tun Khin, along with diplomats from missions based in Geneva, also attended the event.


On 23 February 2023, H.E. U Aung Myo Min, Union Minister for Human Rights met with H.E. Mr. Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in OHCHR, Geneva. During the meeting, human rights situation in Myanmar including the technical supports in the promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar were discussed.


Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état


On 20 February 2023, the Council of the European Union issued a press release titled: “Myanmar/Burma: EU imposes sixth round of sanctions against 9 individuals and 7 entities”. The press release stated that two years after the military coup staged in Myanmar/Burma on 1st February 2021, on 20 February 2023 the Council adopted restrictive measures against nine persons and seven entities in view of the continuing escalation of violence, grave human rights violations and threats to the peace, security and stability in Myanmar/Burma. According to the press release, the sanctioned individuals include the Minister for Energy; prominent businessmen who have supported the regime with arms and dual use goods; high-ranking officers in the Myanmar armed forces that are closely associated with the regime; politicians and administrators from Yangon Region involved in the process of death sentences and execution of four democracy activists in July 2022, and in Kachin State, where they oversaw air strikes, massacres, raids, arson and the use of human shields committed by military. The statement mentioned that the listed entities include departments of the Ministry of Defence, a state-owned enterprise under its jurisdiction, and private companies supplying fuel, arms and funds to the military. It underlined that restrictive measures currently apply to a total of 93 individuals and 18 entities, which are subject to an asset freeze and a travel ban, that prevents them from entering or transiting through EU territory. It also explained that EU persons and entities are prohibited to make funds available to those listed. It stressed that other EU restrictive measure will remain in place: the embargo on arms and equipment and export restrictions on equipment for monitoring communications which might be used for internal repression, the export ban on dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police, and the prohibition of military training and cooperation with the Tatmadaw. It underlined that the restrictive measures come in addition to the withholding of EU financial assistance directly going to the government and the freezing of all EU assistance that may be seen as legitimising the junta.


In the press release, the EU condemned in the strongest possible terms the Myanmar armed forces’ commission of grave human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence, the persecution of civil society, human rights defenders and journalists, attacks on the civilian population, targeting also children and persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities across the country, and recent deadly air strikes on civilian targets, including on schools and hospitals. It highlighted that those responsible for the coup, as well as the perpetrators of violence and gross human rights violations, should be held accountable. The EU also reiterated its call for increased international preventive action, including an arms embargo in order to cease the sale and transfer of arms and equipment, as they facilitate the military’s atrocities. Stressing that all hostilities must stop immediately, it underlined that the military must fully respect international humanitarian law and put an end to indiscriminate use of force. Stating that the European Union supports ASEAN’s and the UN’s efforts to help Myanmar to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and welcomes the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2669 on Myanmar, it underscored that Myanmar should swiftly and faithfully implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, as reiterated at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits in November 2022 and at the EU-ASEAN Commemorative Summit in Dec 2022.


At the United Nations’ daily press briefing on 22 February 2023, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said that according to a new UNDP report, a quarter of people living in the poorest areas of the capital, Yangon, have not had any income in the last twelve months. He explained that out of 3,000 people surveyed by UNDP in the capital, more than a third said they were eating less, and over one quarter said their families are going without medical treatment or medication. He underlined that to tackle these issues, an initiative was launched with UNDP, UN- Women and UN-Habitat to improve vulnerable peoples’ incomes and access to basic services. He informed that the United Nations agencies are boosting vocational training for young people, bolstering micro and small enterprises, and improving access to health care and clean drinking water. Mentioning that the UN teams reached 25,000 people in Myanmar in 2022 who now have access to affordable clean water, he stated that the UN colleagues aim to reach 450,000 people in 2023.

According to the news, on 22 February 2023, after meeting with Chinese counterpart Qin Gang in Jakarta, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that she appreciates China’s support for ASEAN’s five-point consensus, which is the main reference for ASEAN to help Myanmar out of its political crises. She added that Indonesia, as ASEAN chair, will embark on engagements with all stakeholders in Myanmar, with the one goal of opening up a possibility of an inclusive national dialogue in Myanmar.


On 23 February 2023, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) published weekly highlights on the number of people displaced in South East of Myanmar since February 2021 and remain displaced, as of 20 February 2023. It stated that in the South-East, the number of IDPs increased from 371,300 last week to 380,300 this week and in Bago Region (East), intense fighting and heavy artillery shelling displaced about 630 people from Kyaukkyi Township to areas within the same township and towards Phyu Township. Among those in the Bago Region, 110 IDPs were verified in Phyu Township as having been displaced again. It added that in Kayah State, 5,400 IDPs from Demoso, Hpruso, and Loikaw Townships were verified in Loikaw Town. It remarked that those displacements occurred in 2022 but were only verified recently. It explained that in Kayin State, intense clashes and airstrikes near villages displaced 580 people from Myawaddy Township to other areas within the township, and in Tanintharyi Region insecurity and reported threats to civilian safety displaced about 2,500 people from Dawei and Palaw Townships to jungle areas within the respective townships.



*****



Date: 26 February 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York

留言


bottom of page