Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been 16 months since the Myanmar military has 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 27 May 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,866 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 13,878 people have been arrested, 10,825 people remain in detention, and 1,979 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 arresting and killing the civilians
The AAPP reported that on 22 May 2022, military forces arrested a civilian named Sai Nyi Nyi from Shwe Bone Thar Village in Myaung Township of Sagaing Region. It was reported that he was arrested while shopping in the town, and he was accused of being connected to the PDF.
Irrawaddy News reported that on 24 May 2022, at least 10 civilians, including a 5-year-old child, were arrested by military troops during the military’s raid in Myinmu Township of Sagaing Region, while the civilians from the villages of Inn Ma and Gone Nyin Sait were hiding in a nearby forest. It was reported that the military forces entered the forest where the people were hiding, after having destroyed the houses in the villages. Local villagers said that the exact number of civilians arrested and taken by the military could not be verified, but almost all those arrested are men from Inn Ma Village.
On 25 May 2022, as military troops failed to find the activist named Myo Min who lives in Yesagyo Township of Magway Region, they instead detained four of his siblings as hostages. It was reported that his 70-year-old father, who was suffering from cancer, died of shock when the military arrested his children.
Mizzima News reported that on 25 May 2022, military forces shot dead one villager and wounded another, while patrolling in Kazonma Village in Seik Phyu Township of Magway Region.
The Military attacking Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region
According to credible reports, the military forces attacked Khin-U Township of Sagaing Region and fired both heavy and light weapons in Kan Thit village on 25 May 2022. It was reported that at around 7 pm on 25 May, the military’s artillery shell struck the house of a 70-year-old man, where he was hiding, killing the man. According to a local villager, the old man that was killed had to stay behind, as he could not run. It was also said that he was arrested once before, and his son had also been arrested and detained in prison at the time of attack.
Due to the military’s gunshots, assaults and raids against a number of houses along the road within the townships of Khin-U and Ye-U, the local residents of 12 villages, including Kan Thit village, were forcibly displaced.
The Military abducting and murdering civilians in southern Sagaing Region
Myanmar Now News reported that military forces abducted five local civilians in the townships of Yinmabin and Salingyi of Sagaing Region. It was reported that three of those abducted were released, and the remaining two were found murdered on the evening of 25 May 2022. The deceased men were identified as employees at a Chinese company leading a major copper mining project in the area.
The AAPP reported that the two deceased men, Kyaw Nyein (38) and Chit Thein Zaw (34), are from Ywar Thar Village in Salingyi Township of Sagaing Region. Their hands had been tied behind their backs, and they were killed. It was further reported that the bodies were found in the cemetery of Kan Kone Village. Half of Kyaw Nyein’s face was deformed from torture and a bullet wound was found on his forehead. Chit Thein Zaw also had injuries from torture along with bullet wounds in his head and chest.
According to the locals, the two deceased men had worked for the Myanmar branch of Yangtse Copper Co. Ltd, in which Kyaw Nyein was a staff member in the processing department, and Chit Thein Zaw was a drill operator. It was also reported that the military’s raids and assaults on the villages in the area had displaced the local residents, forcing the people to take shelter near the community of Done Taw.
The Military firing heavy artillery in Kalay Township of Sagaing Region
According to Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), the military forces fired heavy artillery and explosive weapons from Taungphilar Mountain into the township of Kalay in Sagaing Region on 28 May 2022, killing three members of a family. Local residents said that after the military’s artillery landed on the house in Tar Han Quarter in the town, three family members, including two women and one, man died. The women were killed at the time the house was hit by heavy artillery, and the man died in the next morning. It was also reported that they are the family who had fled from Min Kin Township, and one of the deceased women is survived by a 7-month-child.
The Military improperly charging and sentencing civilians
Irrawaddy News reported that military forces detained a leading business owner named Zin Min Aung who is the major shareholder in the chain of Yangon Petrol (YP) filling stations, and it was announced on 26 May 2022 that he was charged under the Anti-Corruption Law.
Myanmar Now News reported that a lawyer named Ywet Nu Aung was transferred to Obo Prison in Mandalay on 26 May 2022. She was arrested by the military on 27 April 2022 and was charged last month under the Anti-Terror Law for allegedly financing an armed resistance group. It was reported that she was later charged under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
According to Irrawaddy News, on 27 May 2022 a court under the control of the military in Thandwe Township of Rakhine State sentenced a civilian named Tin Tun Naing (26-year-old) to 10 years in prison with labor over his alleged ties to the People’s Defense Force (PDF). It was reported that he had been detained by the military forces on 29 January 2022 while travelling to Gwa Township, and he was later charged under Section 49 (a) of the Counter-Terrorism Law.
The Military cutting off phone service in several townships of Sagaing and Mgway Regions
According to Myanmar Now News, the military cut off telephone service in several townships of Sagaing Region, where there has been the increasing presence of military forces. As of 7 am on 24 May 2022, the townships within the Sagaing Region where the telephone service were cut off included Kanbalu, Kani, Khin-U, Monywa, Pale, Ye-U and Yinmabin, where the military resistance forces are active. It was reported that both landline and mobile connections were disrupted in the affected townships, and nearly all of Sagaing has been without internet due to a blackout imposed by the military since March.
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that the military cut off telephone service in the townships of Myaing, Yesagyo, Gangaw and Pauk of Magway Region, starting from 12 pm on 28 May 2022.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 23 May 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government (NUG) issued a statement calling for the four members of the Quad to further develop practical measures and a coordinated response to the crisis in Myanmar. The statement mentioned that the NUG welcomes the grave concern about the crisis in Myanmar that was expressed by the governments of Australia, India, Japan and the United States of America in the Quadrilateral Statement of 11 February 2022, and the four powers rightly called at that time for an end to violence and for the release of all those arbitrarily detained.
The statement explained that the conditions of the people in Myanmar have worsened more than three months on from this statement as violence and arbitrary arrests continue unabated, the military is taking advantage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine to intensify its attacks across the country, and some 600,000 people have been forcibly displaced since the coup. The statement underlined that the sufferings of Myanmar must matter to the world.
Through the statement, the NUG called on the four states to clearly state the followings:
Violence should not be tolerated.
The perpetrators of abuses against the people of Myanmar must face justice for crimes against humanity that are being committed.
The international community must respond strongly to Myanmar’s escalating humanitarian catastrophe, which is entirely political in origin.
Australia, India, Japan, and the United States of America will do all in their power to restrict the sales of arms and jet fuel to the junta. These are the means by which the junta is perpetrating its murderous campaigns.
The people of Myanmar have the right to determine their own future, free from military oppression.
Also, the NUG calls that the four members of the Quad establish without delay a formal working group to develop a coordinated response to the crisis in Myanmar that will promote democracy for the people of Myanmar and security for the region.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
The United States – Republic of Korea leaders’ Joint Statement issued on 21 May 2022 included remarks on Myanmar. In the statement, President of Republic of Korea Yoon Suk Yeol and President of the U.S. Joseph R. Biden resolutely condemned the coup in Myanmar and the military’s brutal attacks on civilians, and committed to press for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of those who are detained, unfettered countrywide humanitarian access, and a swift return to democracy. The two Presidents also called on all nations to join them in providing safe haven to the people of Myanmar and in prohibiting arms sales to Myanmar.
The Japan – U.S Joint Leaders’ statement on strengthening the free and open international order issued on 23 May 2022 expressed remarks on Myanmar. In the statement, Prime Minister of Japan Kishida and U.S President Joseph R. Biden condemned the coup in Myanmar and the brutal attacks of the Myanmar military on civilians, and they committed to continue taking action to press for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of all those who are wrongfully detained, unfettered countrywide humanitarian access, and a swift return to democracy.
On 24 May 2022, Quad leaders including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, and President Joe Biden of the United States issued a joint leaders’ statement on the situation of Myanmar, expressing deep concern on the crisis in Myanmar, including grave humanitarian suffering and challenges posed to regional stability. The statement called for the immediate end to violence in Myanmar; the release of all political detainees, including foreigners; engagement in constructive dialogue; humanitarian access; and the swift restoration of democracy.
At the United Nations daily press briefing on 27 May 2022, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric mentioned that the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, briefed the Security Council on the morning of 27 May in a closed session. The spokesperson said that in her latest discussion with the Prime Minister of Cambodia, in his capacity as Chair of ASEAN, Ms. Heyzer reiterated the importance of aligning regional efforts with ground realities and support towards a Myanmar-led process that reflects the needs and the will of the people. The Spokesperson added, “The Special Envoy on Myanmar highlighted that a visit to Myanmar would be consistent with her commitment to actively consult all stakeholders in the hope of delivering concrete outcomes to the benefit of the people there.”
Date: 29 May 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York