Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
More than two years ago on 1 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 24 March 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), the military ruthlessly killed 3,160 people, arrested 20,846 people, and 16,978 people remain in detention, whereas 150 people have been sentenced to death, including 108 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 sentenced to death were executed by the military junta in July 2022.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
The AAPP reported that on 18 March 2023, the military forces arrived by a vehicle and raided Say Min Taw Village along Tilin-Gangaw Road in Tilin Township of Magway Region, and killed two local residents, including a mentally-ill man. After the military forces left, their bodies were discovered.
On 18 March 2023, the military forces opened fire with a Mi 35 Helicopter on Seik Khon Village in Shwebo Township of Sagaing Region, resulting in the deaths of two civilians. Three other civilians were also injured.
On 20 March 2023, the military forces fired heavy weaponry at Karawayseik Village in Bilin Township of Mon State, and due to the explosion of an artillery shell on a house in the village, a villager was killed, and his son was injured.
Raiding villages within the townships of Sagaing and Madaya and killing civilians
Myanmar Now News reported that during the third weeks of March 2023, two military columns consisting of around 100 troops launched a series of raids in the villages on both sides of the Ayeyarwady River in Sagaing and Mandalay Regions.
The source said that between 13 to 18 March 2023, four villages in the townships of Sagaing and Madaya were raided and at least four civilians were killed by the military forces. A monk and two women were among those killed.
Conducting Airstrikes and displacing the civilians in Bago Region
According to the Irrawaddy News, the military’s four fighter jets conducted nine airstrikes, and dropped 28 bombs on villages of Kyaukgyi and Shwekyin Township of Bago Region on 20 March 2023. Karen National Union (KNU) said that due to the military’s intensified aerial attacks, houses and schools were destroyed, and some 3,195 residents were displaced. It was reported that three civilians including a child were killed.
Torching houses in two villages within Launglon Township
It was reported that on 21 March 2023, the military forces raided and torched the villages of NyawPyin and Auk KyaukWut in Launlon Township of Tanintharyi Region. In NyawPyin Village, more than 90 houses were burned down, and nearly 40 houses in Auk KyaukWut Village were torched. The source said that a 25-year-old civilian was shot dead by the military forces, as he was trying to put out a fire in Auk Kyauk Wut Village.
Murdering Civilians and torching houses in villages within Sagaing Region
According to the AAPP, a military column consisting of 60 forces and the members of the paramilitary group of Pyu Saw Htee raided Mya Kan Village in Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region on 23 March 2023. It was reported that the military forces set fire to the village, and a civilian named Nyo Tin (65) was detained and killed by the military forces, after he was tortured. The source said that his body was found out in front of his house, after the military forces left the village.
According to Myaelatt Athan, a military column consisting of over 50 troops raided and attacked Sone Kone Village in Butalin Township of Sagaing Region on 25 March 2023. The source said that the military troops killed five women and two men including a disable woman and burned over 200 houses down. It was reported that following the military coup, the military forces have torched over 700 houses in 22 villages in Butalin Township.
Sentencing civilians arbitrarily
According to the local news, on 20 March 2023, a military tribunal in Khin-U township sentenced the wife and daughter of Dr. Win Aung, NLD Pyithu Hluttaw (Union Parliament) Representative of Khin-U Township, to three years in prison with hard labour under Section 505 A(c) of the Penal Code. The wife of Dr. Win Aung is Khin Than Nu (aka Nilar), and his daughter Ei Nandar Aung, who were each sentenced to three years in prison. It was reported that they both were detained by the military forces near Gandawin Tauk Gyi Tea shop in Khin-U Town.
The AAPP reported that on 22 March 2023, a military court in the North Okkalapa Township of Yangon Region sentenced a civilian named Kaung Set Paing to life imprisonment under Section 505 A of the Penal Code and Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law. It was reported that he is a member of North Okkalapa Township Students’ Union (All Burma Federation of Student Unions), and He was detained by the military on 1 December 2022.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 20 March 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered Remarks at the Special Event: New York Presentation of the 2022 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The Permanent Representative said that the military has been waging a campaign of violence and brutality against the people of Myanmar by all means, including arbitrary detention, torture to death in custody, repeated massacres, indiscriminate aerial bombings, whole-sale torching of homes and villages and summary execution of political prisoners. He explained that more than 1.6 million people became internally displaced; Over 17.6 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance; almost half of the population are living under national poverty line. It was underlined that all these factors have placed many people especially women and girls at high risk of human trafficking, and some even already became victims of human trafficking. The Permanent Representative further mentioned that the military has created safe havens for transnational organized crimes and made Myanmar, sadly for the first time in its history, a destination of transnational organized crimes, and therefore, he requested the international community, all relevant UN agencies, and regional organizations to pay close attention to and address the issue seriously and effectively.
On 24 March 2023, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations, delivered a statement at the General Debate of the United Nations Conference at the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development,” 2018-2028. The Permanent Representative said that Myanmar is currently lag behind in every sector, especially in socio-economic status. He explained that as the political stability and economic development are two sides of the same coin, Myanmar cannot achieve any sustainable development without peace and political stability, and undoubtedly, achieving SDGs, particularly Goal 6 in Myanmar will not be possible until the end of this military dictatorship. He stressed, the people of Myanmar are confident that through building a free, peaceful, inclusive, just and democratic society, Myanmar can achieve successfully the SDGs including Goal 6.
On 26 March 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar issued a statement, welcoming the further sanctions against the illegal military of Myanmar announced by the United States Department of the Treasury. The statement said that the new measures target two individuals and six entities connected to the military that carried out the import, storage and distribution of jet fuel to the military, and its deliberate, widespread and systematic atrocities against civilians. It was mentioned that frustrated by the scale and resilience of the Myanmar people’s rights-based revolution and by its own failure to seize power, the junta is escalating its airstrikes against villages, schools and hospitals. The National Unity Government extends its gratitude to the United States for its sustained commitment to the Myanmar people and calls on other members of the international community to take equal action.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 20 March 2023, the Human Rights Council held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. The Special Rapporteur Thomas H. Andrews said that following the military coup in Myanmar, the military continued to wage a campaign of violence and oppression to crush widespread public opposition, und upon its failure to stop the opposition, it was succeeding in destroying the nation and assaulting the fundamental human rights of its people. He added that more than 3,000 civilians had been killed; more than 1.3 million civilians had been displaced; more than 16,000 political prisoners were behind bars; and 17.6 million people were in dire need of humanitarian assistance. He mentioned that reports of massacres of civilians were regularly received, including beheadings and dismemberment. The Special Rapporteur said that the international community was not doing nearly enough, anda minority of member states and non-state entities continued to provide the junta with weapons, materials to manufacture weapons, or revenue that was being used to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. He called on the international community to coordinate sanctions to counter the abuses committed by the military, and underlying that the international community could also do better in supporting the hundreds of thousands who had been forced to flee Myanmar.
At the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council on item 4: “General Debate on Human Rights Situations that require the Council's attention” held on 22 March 2023, the European Union (EU) delivered a statement about Myanmar. The EU notes the assessment that some of the military’s acts may amount to crimes against humanity or constitute war crimes, and those responsible for the coup, as well as the perpetrators of violence and gross human rights violations, must be held accountable. The EU urged the military authorities to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all displaced persons and people in need, in all parts of the country. EU added that the politically motivated trials and subsequent unjust sentences against democratically elected President and State Counsellor, as well as other dissidents and pro-democracy activists, show the military’s wish to eradicate all democratic opposition to its rule. The EU reiterates its firm demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and persons arbitrarily detained, and supports the efforts of ASEAN and UN to help find a peaceful solution to the crisis, welcoming the UN Security Council’s adoption of Resolution 2669.
On 24 March 2023, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken issued a press statement, in which the United States Department of the Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Jet Fuel Suppliers and Military Cronies to address Burma Military junta’s atrocities to continue to promote accountability for the Myanmar military’s assault on the democratic aspirations of the people. The sanctions targeted two individuals and six entities, including Tun Min Latt and his spouse Win Min Soe, as well as three entities owned or controlled by Tun Min Latt. Additionally, the sanctions are imposed on issuing a Sanctions Alert on Burma jet fuel to inform individuals, businesses, and other persons of the sanctions risks associated with the provision of jet fuel to the Burma’s military junta. Additionally, the Department of Treasury is issuing a Sanctions Alert on Burma jet fuel to inform individuals, businesses, and other persons of the sanctions risks associated with the provision of jet fuel the military. It is stated that the actions further align with those taken by Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.
On 24 March 2023, the Justice for Myanmar and the Sentry issued a joint statement, welcoming the sanctions of the United States on Star Sapphire Group of Companies, Star Sapphire Trading Company Limited, Star Sapphire Group Pte. Ltd., and two of their owners, Tun Min Latt and his wife Win Min Soe. It stated that Star Sapphire Group of Companies is a Myanmar conglomerate with diversified interests in trading, power, hospitality, and mining. The joint statement also called on likeminded jurisdictions, including the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, to coordinate efforts.
Date: 26 March 2023
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York