Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (26 June 2022)
Bi-Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been in 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 the people suffer with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 24 June 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 2,021 people and arrested 14,280 people with 11,217 people remaining in detention. A total of 115 people have been sentenced to death. At least 617 houses and buildings have been sealed off since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
The Military moving State Counsellor to solitary confinement
According to local news sources, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was reportedly moved to a prison in Zabuthiri Township of Naypyitaw in the afternoon of 22 June 2022. Since the coup, the military regime hit the State Counsellor with several charges and sentenced her to a total of 11 years in prison for six of the 19 charges filed against her.
A Naypyitaw-based source told Myanmar Now on the condition of anonymity that her first court session at the site has been conducted and was related to military allegations that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi violated the Official Secrets Act. Myanmar Now news reported that the State Counsellor’s lawyers were informed that the venue for future hearing would be changed to a building in the prison. Mizzima News released a photo of a building, saying that the State Counsellor was detained in that building in the prison compound. BBC’s Burmese Service reported that she was being detained in the designated building, guarded by three female prion staff, and was separated from other inmates. It was also reported that the military regime issued a gag order against the State Counsellor’s legal team in a bid to prevent updates about her case from reaching the public.
The Military raiding and burning the villages
According to Myanmar Now News, around 300 military troops conducted a series of raids between 11 and 12 of June 2022 on villages in Salingyi, Yesagyo, and Myaing Townships. It was reported that they also attacked the neighbouring village of Darn Pin Kan in Magway’s Myaing Township and detained 13 villagers, and then used Darn Pin Kan as their base for further raids on villages to the north, including Ngar Khon and Ngar Ya Taw, near Salingyi Township. Myanmar Now mentioned that according to local sources thousands of people from at least 30 villages located along the western bank of the Chindwin River have been displaced by raids, and it reported that the raids were a response to the assault of a combined force of three local People’s Defence Force groups on a junta checkpoint near a bridge that crosses the Chindwin River between Magway’s Yesagyo Township and Salingyi Township in Sagaing.
The Military’s continued raiding the villages and killing the civilians
On 22 June 2022 in Sagaing Region’s Salingyi Township, it was reported that the bodies of two men were found. They were later identified as Tin Soe, 50, and Pwa Gyi, 40 from Moe Gyo Pyin village. They were attacked by some 70 military forces during the military raid on 21 June 2022. A local resident said that Tin Soe was decapitated and disemboweled and that knife wounds covered his whole body. In addition, Pwa Gyi’s hands were cut off at the wrist.
A member of the Young People’s Force based in Salingyi said the military burnt Moe Gyo Pyin, and he claimed that an estimated 280 households in the village were destroyed in the military’s raid. The military also raided Se Te Zee Taw village, which is eight miles away where they occupied a monastery and held some 20 villagers captive. The military has assaulted in the Letpadaung area since last month, and thousands of residents from at least 15 villages have reportedly been displaced.
According to local news media, the military forces along with Pyu Saw Htee militia killed at least seven people during raids on villages in two Sagaing Region townships where nearly 200 homes were torched. They killed two men taken as hostages from Kyoet Kan village in Khin-U Township on 11 June. The military and Phyu Saw Htee troops were later attacked by resistance forces near Kyoet Kan, and they then fired artillery at the village. The military forces also torched a neighbouring village Kan Thit and reportedly burnt around 50 houses.
An estimated 100 houses were reportedly destroyed during a three-day occupation by Myanmar military troops and Pyu Saw Htee members that began on 12 June in that region, and some 50 local residents, including elders were detained. According to Myanmar Now, it was the military’s fourth arson attack on the village since the coup, and some 30 houses were destroyed in previous fires set by the military. Myanmar Now cited monitoring group Data for Myanmar’s reports that the military had destroyed at least 18,886 houses nationwide since the military coup as of 7 June 2022.
It was also reported that two elderly residents of Magway Region’s Pakokku Township died after their villages came under attack by the military forces during the weekend of 11 and 12 June 2022. A 65-year-old man was still alive when his son found him in the village of Taung Pa Lu and discovered that he was beaten until his insides were crushed. The son stated that the victim could not speak when he found him, and he died shortly thereafter. The other victim, a 75-year-old grandmother, was reportedly found dead in Ah Shey Kan Phyu village on the following day. Residents said that victim was suffering a stroke and had been burned to death after soldiers burned her house. According to the villager, dozens of other residents who were unable to flee were also tortured. It was reported that around 200 military troops began raiding some 20 villages along the Yaw River in Magway’s Pakokku and Seikphyu townships on 8 June 2022. According to local residents, the troops were searching for members of resistance forces active in the area, set fire to 157 houses in Taung Pa Lu and also burned down the village’s clinic and community hall. Around 42 houses were reportedly torched in Ah Shey Kan Phyu and 16 in the village of De Phyar. At least 15 villages were raided in Seikphyu Township, and some houses were looted.
The Military arresting more than 30 youths in Yangon
It was reported that more than 30 youths who participated in anti-military demonstrations were arrested on 13 and 14 June 2022. A representative from the General Strike Committee told Myanmar Now that the military tried to capture the victims by asking people who have contact with the arrested people through the use of force. A member of the Yangon Revolution Force (YRF) said that two of the people arrested had hung banners condemning the military-led education system on Strand Road in Kyimindaing on 13 June 2022. Soldiers and police forces searched apartments and blocked roads in order to search vehicles. A protest leader and student union member told Myanmar Now that the military forces had been checking household registration lists at night for unregistered guests. In addition, soldiers reportedly beat and arrested two men in Tamwe and three in Sanchaung, among whom were four protest leaders. The General Strike Committee called on city residents to help protesters in hiding in order to show support for the anti-dictatorship movement.
The Military using people as human shields
The Myanmar Now reported that the military forces killed 10 villagers, including two children in Sagaing Region during the second week of June 2022, where the military was carrying out fierce assaults on the civilians in an attempt to overpower the resistance stronghold. Eight of the victims were from Ta Ohn, a village five miles east of Shwebo Township’s administrative centre, which was attacked by 100 military troops on 9 June 2022. According the villager, the bodies were badly decomposed and could not be buried due to the continued military occupation of the area. It was reported that the victims, who are believed to have been forced to act as human shields and porters, were identified as Thein Tan, 50; Kyaw Lin, 45; Sein Mahn, Maung Htoo and Win Shwe, all aged 40; Pho Htoo, who was in his 30s; and 20-year-old Ye Wai Lin. The local residents stressed that the military troops detained multiple residents at the village’s monastery, including women and children. At least nine of those who were taken by the military were reportedly forced to carry supplies on 10 and 11 June 2022, while the military raided the neighbouring villages of Ohn Pauk, Maung Tat, Ti Pin and Se Gyi, where they were last seen alive by eyewitnesses on June 12.
The Military murdering Civil Disobedience Movement Participants
The charred bodies of five members of the anti-coup movement were reportedly found by members of a local resistance force amid military raids on villages in northern Yesagyo Township in Magway Region on 14 June 2022. The PDF claimed that the victims’ remains were burnt and buried, and they stated that the victims were discovered after the handcuffed hands of one of the bodies were left uncovered by soil. It was reported that among those killed were 54-year-old headmaster Mr. Win Kyaw, 27-year-old nurse Ms. Zarli Naing, and 28-year-old teacher Ms. Khin Hnin Wai, who was five months pregnant at the time of her murder. The other two were armed resistance force members in their 20s: Mr. Htay Min Oo and Ms. Thae Ei Ei Win. All five victims were reportedly in Myaing Township’s Dan Pin Kan village, located next to Peik Thin Kat, and captured on the evening of 10 June 2022. It was reported that Khin Hnin Wai and Win Kyaw had been participating in the education program launched by the National Unity Government after joining the Civil Disobedience Movement. The days before that attack, hundreds of military troops began raiding the surrounding villages in northern Yesagyo Township, torching houses and abducting civilians. According to a person from a local resistance force, the CDM nurse and the CDM headmaster had been traced by the military’s informant, who guided the military troops to the place where the nurse was providing first aid.
The Military displacing civilians and occupying protected buildings in Kanpetlet
It was reported that a column of around 180 junta troops based in Kyaukhtu, in neighbouring Magway Region, raided a base operated by Battalion 2 of the Kanpetlet branch of the Chinland Defence Force (CDF). The clashes started in the area on 9 June 2022. Since then, residents of a number of villages, including San Eain Nuu, Sammathar, Ma See Twi, Kyawt Taw, Ngon Laung, Kan Laung, Ya Laung Pan, and Chin Latt Mon, have been displaced. Around 2,500 people have reportedly been forced from their homes in Kanpetlet who have been struggling to survive in the forests without having basic supplies. Many of the displaced civilians are reportedly women, children and elderly residents of some 15 villages in the township. Myanmar Now reported that CDF Kanpetlet said there were at least 400 regime troops in Kanpetlet, occupying the town’s school and police station, as well as the general administration office.
The Military firing the Church in Kayah
On 15 June 2022, a column of military troops from LID 66 reportedly occupied a church compound in Daw Ngay Khu in Demoso Township of Kayah State, and they later set fire to the main worship building, the community hall and the priest’s home. According to Myanmar Now, there have been intense battles between the military and the allied Karenni resistance forces around Daw Ngay Khu since 10 June 2022. The military reportedly set up landmines in the grass fields outside the church compound, and they torched four houses in Day Ngay Khu the day before torching the church. The KNDF spokesperson stated that the military troops from Loikaw and Hpruso have targeted at least five villages in Demoso in an attempt to drive out resistance forces along the north-south highway that runs through Karenni State. Karenni religious leaders reported that eight churches had been destroyed in Karenni and southern Shan states.
Political prisoner’s newborn dying due to prison authorities delaying treatment
It was reported that, because prison authorities delayed bringing a 24-year-old pregnant political prisoner to the hospital for hours, the newborn died. A friend of the political prisoner told Myanmar Now some weeks after the incident that the pregnant woman started experiencing bleeding on 20 May 2022, but it took three hours to get the approval to send her to the hospital, and the ambulance was out of gas. The doctor decided that she suffered a placental abruption and performed an emergency caesarean section. However, the newborn boy reportedly died a few minutes later. It was reported that the pregnant prisoner and her husband were arrested in Yangon’s Kamayut Township in September last year. The husband was also detained in Insein Prison and has been handed a death sentence for terrorism charges alongside former National League for Democracy (NLD) parliamentarian Phyo Zayar Thaw. It was reported that the military regime has banned meetings with the prisoners by outside visitors, including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). ICRC Myanmar communications manager Jacqueline Fernandez told Myanmar Now that they have not had access to places of detention in Myanmar for two years. The military has also restricted imprisoned NLD leaders from accessing medical treatment, including Mandalay Region Chief Minister Zaw Myint Maung, who has leukemia and has been detained since the February 2021 coup.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar released a statement on 20 June 2022 welcoming the UK’s decisions to impose sanction on companies delivering the weapons that allow Myanmar’s unwanted terrorist military junta to perpetrate its brutal violence. It stated that the NUG is committed to pursuing all legal avenues in ensuring that the victims of violence receive the justice that they deserve, and called on the international community to use all possible means to end the flow of weapons to Myanmar’s illegal military junta.
The Ministry of Human Rights of the National Unity Government of Myanmar released a statement on the panel discussion on the Rohingya and other minorities (HRC50) on 18 June 2022 stating the NUG acknowledges with great shame that historic exclusionary and discriminatory policies, practices and rhetoric against the Rohingya and other ethnic groups laid the ground for such atrocities. In connection with this issue, it reassured that the NUG will do as follows:
Submit a motion to its legislature – the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw – seeking the repeal of the Race and Religion Protection Laws of 2015;
Prioritize the amendment or replacement of the Citizenship Law of 1982 with a law that bases citizenship on birth in Myanmar or birth anywhere as a child of Myanmar citizens;
Ensure that all new national laws and policies are developed in consultation with the Rohingya and other minority communities and their representatives;
Advocate for the formal acceptance of Myanmar’s Article 12(3) Declaration under the Rome Statute, granting the International Criminal Court jurisdiction with respect to international crimes committed in the country since 1 July 2002;
Cooperate with the International Court of Justice in The Gambia v. Myanmar case under the Genocide Convention, and accept and fully comply with whatever the Court decides;
Continue to share evidence and materials with the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar; and
Support states that exercise universal jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for atrocity crimes committed in Myanmar.
The National Unity Government of Myanmar urged all member countries of the G7 on 26 June 2022 to take seriously the humanitarian and economic catastrophe caused by the military coup in Myanmar. The NUG recalled last year’s G7 meeting where the members condemned the illegal coup, the arbitrary arrest of innocent people, and the violence committed by the junta’s forces, and committed themselves to support all those who are working to create a stable and inclusive democracy and to unfettered humanitarian access to vulnerable and displaced populations. It stated that the NUG looks to the G7 to deliver on its commitment to additional measures on its forthcoming meeting to be held in Germany.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 16 June 2022, the United Kingdom has announced new sanctions targeting companies responsible for supplying aircraft parts to the Myanmar Armed Forces. The move follows a recent report from Amnesty International, which found that the Myanmar military has been systematically committing widespread atrocities including airstrikes targeting civilians. Asset freezes will be applied to a number of arms companies based in Myanmar and Russia, limiting the military junta as well as targeting revenue going to Putin’s war machine. The Myanmar companies affected are Synpex Shwe Company Ltd, Myanmar New Era Trading Company Ltd, and Sky Aviator Company Ltd. All three have been involved in the supply of parts and upkeep of aircraft for the Myanmar Armed Forces since the coup. Three Russian companies responsible for supplying arms and aircraft parts to the Myanmar military are also being sanctioned.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the UK's sanctions which target the Myanmar military’s ability to carry out airstrikes and stated that he applauded the United Kingdom's announcement to impose sanctions on companies perpetuating the Burmese military regime's brutal violence against the people of Burma.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on 14 June 2022 said Myanmar's military had likely committed "crimes against humanity" in its crackdown on dissent since seizing power in February last year. She also called on the military to abandon plans to carry out Myanmar's first executions since 1990, including those of a former lawmaker from Ms Aung San Suu Kyi's party and a prominent democracy activist. The United States, France and international human rights groups also urged the junta not to follow through with the execution of activist Kyaw Min Yu and former lawmaker Phyo Zeya Thaw.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Director for the Asia Pacific Christine Cipolla visited Myanmar for meetings with State Administration Council authorities from 15 to 18 June 2021. The Regional Director also called for the earliest possible resumption of ICRC and family visits in prisons, both suspended by Myanmar authorities in March 2020, following the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic worldwide. It was reported that the ICRC regrets that no agreement on these two points was found yet with the detaining authorities but remains determined to continue its action in support of people detained and their families.
The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar released a statement on 20 June 2022 stating that they closely followed the related events concerning the recent announcement by the Myanmar military that it intended to carry out death sentences imposed on four individuals by military courts following non-public trials. They stated the case as follows;
“Imposing a prison or death sentence in such circumstances could constitute crimes against humanity or war crimes. The crime against humanity of persecution is the severe denial of a person’s fundamental rights under international law when committed on discriminatory grounds. Imprisonment as a crime against humanity is committed when a person is detained without due process of law. It is also a war crime to impose sentences and carry out executions without a judgement by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable. National laws or procedures relied upon to justify a conviction and sentence must not violate international law”
“In particularly egregious situations, such as those presented in the Nuremberg case of Altstötter et al., the imposition of the death penalty following proceedings that blatantly violate basic fair trial rights – including holding such proceedings entirely in secret and without proper records – can lead to the inference of a “mock trial” that “is not a judicial proceeding but a murder.” The participation of those involved in such proceedings is not excused on the basis that they were merely following domestic law. Even judges and prosecutors, as in the Altstötter case, can be found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their roles in such proceedings”
The U.S. Embassy Rangoon released a statement on 22 June 2022 stating that the U.S mourned the 2,000 civilians murdered by the military regime since the February 2021 coup; that inhumane atrocities committed against the people of Burma underscored the urgency of holding its members accountable; and that since the coup the United States has sanctioned the military regime, its leaders, and their financial interests, disrupting their access to the international financial system. It reaffirmed that the U.S would continue to work with partners and the people of Burma to promote accountability, including by supporting the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, while also continuing to press for a restoration of Burma’s path to peace and democracy.
Australia made a decision not to take part in a meeting on counterterrorism to be co-chaired by the militaries of Myanmar and Russia to be held in Moscow on July 20-21. The meeting brought together representatives of ASEAN and its partners as part of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) Experts’ Working Group on Counter-Terrorism. Australia ruled out both in-person and virtual participation. It was reported that as co-chairs, the Myanmar and Russian militaries are organizing both field training and table-top exercises for later this year that will involve the participation of the armed forces of the ADMM-Plus countries.
In daily press briefing on 23 June 2022, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric responded to a question regarding comment of the Secretary-General on State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi being placed in solitary confinement by Myanmar’s military, saying that they were very concerned about these latest developments, which go against everything they have been calling for, which was her release and the release of the President and all of the other political prisoners.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Mr. Thomas Andrews released on 14 June 2022 a new report documenting Myanmar military junta’s atrocities against children. It stated that it was clear from the evidence that children in Myanmar were begin caught in the crossfire of escalating attacks, and they were often the targets of the violence. It mentioned that the junta’s attacks on children constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. He highlighted that the international community’s approach to the coup and the junta’s atrocities had failed. He called upon the member states, regional organizations, the Security Council, and other UN entities to respond the crisis in Myanmar with the same urgency with which they had responded to the crisis in Ukraine.
On 23 June 2022, Mr. Thomas Andrews also urged that States in the region adopt a similar approach to the human rights catastrophe unfolding under the military, and he called for ASEAN to engage with the National Unity Government. He said he would look forward to working to support Malaysia’s foreign policy leadership on Myanmar.
Date: 26 June 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York