Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (3 July 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Over 17 months ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the 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 1 July 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,053 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 14,427 people have been arrested and a total of 115 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 74 (including 2 children) are detained and 41 in absentia, all since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Atrocities committed by the military
Killing innocent civilians
On 22 June 2022, a ninth-grade student called Lu Min was shot dead by a military junta column in a field near KanThit Village, Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region. It was reported that the killing occurred following a clash near KanThit Village, when a military column came to support junta troops, and then shot Lu Min on-sight.
According to Myanmar Now, on 23 June 2022, the military convoy abducted three men travelling between Khum Mun Nun and Yan Lin Hpai Villages in Tamu Township of Sagaing Region, after the several explosions hit the convoy in the area. Among three detainees, two were from Yan Lin Hpai Village and one from Khum Mun Nun Village and were among many civilians displaced by the conflict and forced to flee across the border into India. According to local resources, their dead bodies were found on the following day near Nan Mun Tar, a village about 2km from Khum Mun Nun Village.
Raiding, Looting and Killing the individuals by accusation of having ties to anti-military forces
According to news, on 26 June 2022, at around 11 PM, some 15 junta soldiers arrived at KaDatGyi Village of Launglon Township in Tanintharyi Region and arrested Thaung Win and Win Aye, a husband and wife at their 60s. It was reported that the troops tied their hands behind their backs, took them out to the streets and killed them by shooting them in the head, stomach, waist and eyes at a close range. According to local residents, after searching and looting five houses in the village and executing the couple, the regime forces went on to Gawt Inn Village in the area, where they shot and killed 50-year-old resident San Win. According to the spokesperson of the Democratic Movement Strike Committee, the military had previously sought San Win for questioning after a junta convoy was attacked with explosives near his home last year but couldn’t find him. This time, he was found in his house and shot dead in front of his wife and daughter. According to the report, money, gold jewelry, and a motorcycle were also taken from their home. According to the statement released by the Democratic Movement Strike Committee on 27 June 2022, over the past month a total of six civilians in Launglon Township have been killed by junta forces.
Abducting, torturing and killing the local villagers near Letpadaung Copper Mine
On 27 June 2022, the badly decomposed bodies of two men were found outside Tone Village, Salingyi Township of Sagaing Region. The victims were 20- and 30-years old villagers of Ton Village who were abducted by the military troops on 23 June 2022. It was also reported that another man from HpaungKaTar Village was detained on 25 June 2022 following the arrival of a unit of around 60 junta troops in the village. According to the news, that 34-years-old victim was found dead the next day with the evidence on the body that he had been tortured to death. During the week, two bodies were also discovered near MoeGyoPyin Village which was southwest of Letpadaung mine. According to the villagers who saw the dead bodies, one of the victims was 50-year-old man who was decapitated after being captured by troops storming into the village on 21 June 2022. The villagers also saw that the hands of the other 40-year-old male victim had been cut off at the wrist. The locals also reported that there were also a number of other villagers who had been severely tortured by the troops who raided the HpaungKaTar Village on 25 June 2022. Among those injured were two brothers in their 30s, and a 40-year-old farmer.
Arbitrary Arrests of innocent civilians
It was reported that junta forces detained many local people in Rakhine State in response to a series of disappearances of junta troops in Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Ponnagyun and Mrauk-U townships, allegedly at the hands of the Arakan Army (AA). Over the two weeks in June, at least dozens have been detained, and the latest arrests were in Sittwe after two junta soldiers, including a captain, were captured in Kyauktaw by men in plainclothes. According to the local residents, junta troops and police conducted searches both inside the town and at its entrance where at least five people were arrested. According to the local sources, there were four more arrests in Mingan ward of Sittwe and the arrest of a 46-year-old Muslim man named Maung Maung Khin in Thet Kei Pyin Village. During the week of 20 June 2022, junta officials detained at least 30 people in Mrauk-U after three military intelligence officers went missing there on 21 June 2022. On the day after the incident, junta soldiers arrested three men from Matupi Township, Chin State who were reportedly in Mrauk-U on business and three locals, including a minor, in Paung Toke Village at the south of Mrauk-U. The AA later claimed responsibility for the disappearance of three military officers, saying that it was carried out as retaliation for the arrest of several of its members since May.
Taking the family members of anti-regime activists as hostages
In the afternoon of 25 June 2022, Daw Htwe Htwe Thein (aka Gwan Pon), a mother of Thoon Nant Thar who is anti-regime activist, was arrested as a hostage at her home in Wetlet Township, Sagaing Region when the junta could not find her daughter. According to Irrawaddy News, Ko Han Min Soe, president of students’ union in Wetlet, received a call from a police commander and was told that he must surrender along with the union’s vice-president Ko Nanda and executive member Ma Thoon Nant Thar by 28 June 2022. It was reported that the police officer called him three times in the week of 27 June, and during the phone call on Monday, Ko Han Min Soe heard that Daw Htwe Htwe Thein was beaten nearly six times and the police officers said they would kill her if three of them did not surrender.
Actions taken against the individuals who support CDM staff and PDF members
On 28 June 2022, Hpung Yot Phi Nan, a chairman of the Rawang Youth Association, was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment for helping the People’s Defence Force (PDF) and Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) members. In February 2021, he was arrested for the first time for protesting against the coup, and he was arrested again on 8 February 2022 with accusations of supporting PDF and CDM members.
Win Min Soe, the chairman of Phyu Sin Youth Charitable Association in Letpadan Town, Bago Region, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by the special court in Thayarwady Prison. He was arrested for alleged relations with the PDF when a bomb exploded on 31 October 2021.
According to the local news, the military outpost, located near Oo Ka Yit Hta Village in Myawaddy Township, Kayin State, was attacked on 26 June 2022 by troops from the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO), both under the command of the KNU. According to a KNDO source, since then, Myanmar’s military has carried out multiple airstrikes around the area. Heavy shelling has also been reported in and around Oo Ka Yit Hta, forcing residents to flee amid blasts that shook the ground every few seconds. According to the local residents, a lot of families were separated, as everyone just scattered. It was also reported that many locals have headed towards the Moei River, which separates Myanmar and Thailand. Thai border authorities have been seen on the other side of the river, watching to make sure that none of the displaced villagers cross into Thai territory. It was reported that since KNU forces and their allies have seized control of a number of key outposts in Karen State in recent months, including one in Maw Khee in March and another in Thay Baw Boe in May, the junta forces have been deploying airstrikes and heavy artillery in and around those areas.
Heavy artillery fired at civilian locations
According to the news, in the afternoon of 23 June 2022, the junta’s 404th Light-Infantry Battalion, and other forces under 8th Regional Military Command stationed in Bilin Township of Mon State, fired artillery weapons. One of the shells landed next to a house in Ah Su Chaung Village and killed a school teacher called Naw San San Win (aka Naw Aye) and her fourteen months old son.
On the same day at night, the armed wing of the junta stationed at Chang-U Town fired artillery shells into KyaungYwar Ward and Anout Ma Oak Ward, located to the south of Khin-U Town. As a result, a mother and a daughter named Pauk and War Moe, were killed on the spot when a junta’s artillery shell landed on their house.
On 29 June 2022, the junta’s Infantry Battalion (IB) 274, located in Mindat Town, Chin State, fired artillery shells at Madat Village and Kyar Eain Nue Village in North Mindat Town. The artillery shell landed in Madat Village and killed a 14-years old girl Naing Khaw Gay.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 27 June 2022, the National Unity Government issued a Weekly Newsletter No. 9/2022. The newsletter published articles relating to the NUG’s activities including NUG’s announcement on Federal Democracy Union Declaration, the NUG welcoming the United Kingdom’s decision to impose sanctions on companies delivering weapons, NUG announcing Federal Democracy Union Declaration, NUG’s Deputy minister for Labour meeting with the Immigrant Workers Affairs Committee of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun’s statement at the United Nations, NUG securing commitment from foreign states to support health and education, the statement of the NUG on the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, NUG introducing NUG Pay, photos and video evidence showing that the SAC murdered innocent civilians, etc.
On 24 June 2022, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the UNGA debate on “the Responsibility to Protect and the Prevention of Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity”. In his statement he urged the United Nations to take action against SAC under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle. He told the Assembly that people of Myanmar have consistently raised the question of how many more innocent lives have to be sacrificed for decisive collective action form the United Nations Security Council. He mentioned the evidence obtained by Radio Free Asia (RFA) and that those videos and photos recorded on the cellphone of a junta soldier reveal the gruesome killings of civilians by security forces and the urgent need to bring cases against the terrorist SAC to the ICC.
On 25 June 2022, the Prime Minister of the NUG virtually held a meeting with Mr. Derek Chollet, Counsellor of the U.S. State Department. During the meeting, the Prime Minister said that many people in Myanmar, including children and aged, are fleeing due to the terror of SAC and thanked the government and people of the United States for their support. He added that the terrorist military has murdered people easily in order to retain their grasp on power. During the meeting, discussion including programs and activities carried out but the NUG, CRPH, EAOs and PDF in delivering humanitarian aids across the border, the designation of a no fly zone, activities done by PAB, PDF and LDF such as running schools and temporary hospitals, the absence of significant popular support for the SAC’s proposed elections were made.
On 29 June 2022, the National Unity Government published a statement (14/2022) regarding the welfare and lives of those being arbitrarily detained by the terrorist military. It was initially mentioned in the statement that State Counsellor DawAung San Suu Kyi was illegally arrested by the terrorist military council and is currently being held in solitary confinement in a prison cell of Nay Pyi Taw Prison. The statement highlighted that in Myanmar’s political history, successive military dictators have tortured, arrested and killed a variety of ways many political leaders, activists and innocent civilians all in an effort to assert their power. The statement further referred to the article 6 of the Criminal Code and explained that the terrorist military’s illegal attempt to dissolve the union government by force was an act recognized as criminal insurrection against the government. In the statement, the NUG highlighted that all political leaders, activists, protesters and dissenters including the President and State Counsellor arrested by the military should be seen as hostages and their welfare and lives are in grave danger. With reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the NUG underlined that the terrorist military council are in violation of the fundamental rights and values held by the United Nations and the international community. It was also emphasized that the military’s actions were a blatant violation of the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, which the military government signed on 4 June 2004. The NUG urged all people fighting for democracy, people who respect dignity and rights, and the international community to continue to fight and stand with the people of Myanmar in fighting for the release of all unjust detainees as soon as possible.
On 30 June 2022, the National Unity Government published a statement (15/2022) regarding the fabricated claims against the NUG. In the statement, it was said that momentum is building in the Spring Revolution to dissolve the terrorist Military Council and to establish a Federal Democratic Union. The statement further mentioned that while the NUG, NUCC, CRPH and the Ethnic Brotherhood Alliances have been working tirelessly for the outcomes that all people aspire, the terrorist Military Council and its affiliates have been intentionally producing and disseminating misleading and false news stories, attempting to distort the image of the revolution. In the statement, the NUG explained that the fabricated claims that “the NUG has compiled a list of individuals of different political persuasions and held a meeting to decide procedures to endanger their lives” not only categorically false but also similar with the one fabricated by a group of individuals and spread among the international community eight months ago. The NUG also highlighted that it is striving its best to eradicate any form of dictatorship by upholding the principles of cherishing human rights, human security and respect and appreciation for political diversity. It was further mentioned that such allegations against the NUG are being fabricated and disseminated to distort the image of the revolution, however, were entirely against the basic principles and policies of the NUG. The NUG condemned any organizations which engages in coercion or rejects diversity of political opinion. The NUG reiterated that it will prosecute all perpetrators in accordance with the law.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 27 June 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia issued a press release “ASEAN Chair Special Envoy Urges Return of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi To Home”. In the press release, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar Prak Sokhonn has conveyed to the State Administrative Council (SAC) of the Union of Myanmar the deep concerned expressed by ASEAN colleagues with regard to the report on the transfer of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from the home to a jail in Nay Pyi Taw and urged the SAC to facilitate her return to the home where she was originally detained. The ASEAN Chair Special Envoy said that in his capacity as the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar, he would like to echo the voice of the ASEAN colleagues in urging the SAC of Myanmar to exercise compassion and facilitate the return of Daw Aung an Suu Kyi to the home where she was originally detained, in consideration of her fragile health and well-being, as well as fair and judicious practice of the rule of law. He stated that “we all share, the view that a peaceful national reconciliation cannot be expected when one party to the conflict is taken out of the resolution equation. Therefore, all our ASEAN colleagues strongly encourage the SAC of Myanmar to begin an inclusive process of national reconciliation without further delay.”
According to the Weekly Highlights of Myanmar emergency overview map by UNHCR, as of 27 June 2022, the number of IDPs rose slightly from 244,500 in previous week to 244,700 this week in the South-East. It was mentioned that figures in Tanintharyi Region as well as Shan (South), Mon and Kayin States did not change significantly, but Bago Region (East) recorded a significant increase after more than 5,400 people from 12 villages had to flee to nearby villages and other locations because of heavy clashes between the military and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA)/ Karen National Defence Organisation (KNDO). It was explained that although more than 4,000 people were able to return to Loikaw and Demoso Townships, the security situation in Demoso Township continues to be unstable with more than 2,000 people unable to return to their places of origin and experiencing another displacement. It was also noted that about 600 IDPs were forced to move further north to Pekon Township in Shan State (South) with additional more than 1,000 people verified as having been displaced in Pekon Township following armed clashes. It was also underlined that 200 IDPs were verified to be in Shan State (South) due to armed clashes in Kayah State’s Loikaw Township in early June. It was added that about 800 people seeking safety in Shan State (South) are currently being verified by UNHCR.
During the United Nations’ daily press briefing on 28 June 2022, Mr. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General mentioned that in Myanmar, more than 1 million men, women and children are now displaced across the country. He said that more than 4 million children have not accessed education for two full academic years, and this disruption to stable schooling is placing children at much higher risk of child labour, trafficking, and early marriage. He added that U.N. and its partners are staying and delivering despite serious access challenges and funding shortfalls. He further mentioned that they have now reached 2.6 million people during the first quarter of 2022, and their ability to reach the remainder of the 6.2 million people identified in the Humanitarian Response Plan will be dependent on increased funding, improved access and removal of bottlenecks such as visa delays and banking restrictions. According to Mr. Dujarric, to date, only 11 per cent humanitarian received.
On 28 June 2022, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) released Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 19. According to its highlights and key messages, the number of displaced men, women and children in Myanmar remains above one million. This includes nearly 760,000 people displaced by the conflict and insecurity since the military takeover in February last year. As the monsoon season continues to cause heavy rain and flooding, in June, 600 people in Kachin State were relocated to higher grounds due to flooding. Humanitarian workers continue providing critical life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people despite access challenges and limited funding. Concerted advocacy efforts have led to new, but modest access in the country’s southeast. It underlined that expanded access in hard-to reach areas across the southeast and the northwest (Chin, Sagaing and Magway) is still much needed. It noted that inflation in commodity prices, including food, fuel, shelter materials and NFIs, remains a major concern to partners in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable people. It highlighted that Myanmar is particularly vulnerable to price hikes given its heavy dependence on importation of products.
The key message included that more than four million children—half of the school-aged children in Myanmar—have not accessed education for two full academic years. It informed that the limited availability of staff, health facilities and supplies are contributing to the worsening of maternal and child health outcomes and poor emergency health care. It also reminded that the monsoon season will increase the spread of communicable diseases, which requires urgent action and expansion of basic primary health care and preventive measures. Approximately 71,600 internally displaced people (IDPs) in MAF-AA displacement sites in Rakhine State lack treatment programs for malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women. This is a critical gap given levels of malnutrition in IDP communities in Rakhine State. It emphasized that the funding situation for 2022 remains dire with the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) only 11 per cfent funded six months into the year. This leaves a gap of US$740m (FTS), negatively affecting the breadth and quality of assistance delivered by humanitarians.
During the United Nations’ daily press briefing on 29 June 2022, Mr. Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General responded to a question regarding any discussion of United Nations Envoy Noeleen Heyzer’s visit to Myanmar since the ASEAN envoy has begun a trip to Myanmar. In his response, Mr. Dujarric said that “there's no update on that, but obviously, we remain in very close touch with our ASEAN partners on this”.
On 29 June 2022, the United Nations Child Rights Committee issued a statement regarding Myanmar. In the statement, the committee warned that time is running out to save Myanmar’s stricken generation, and urged the international community to take swift action to protect the country’s children. Citing alarming findings in a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Committee said 7.8 million children in the country remain out of school, 250,000 are internally displaced, and children have reportedly been abducted and recruited for armed conflicts. In the statement, the committee explained that children continue to bear the brunt of the Myanmar military's ongoing attacks to assert control over the territory and at least 382 children have been killed or maimed by armed groups since the February 2021 coup. In addition, over 1,400 children have reportedly been arbitrarily arrested since the coup. Children who took part or were suspected of having participated in protests, are among those detained by the military. At least 274 child political prisoners remained in the military’s custody as of 27 May 2022. The committee also highlighted that the military has also taken the children of human rights defenders hostage to pressure their parents to surrender. The committee also mentioned that Rohingya children have been arrested and detained for alleged migration- related offences and that torture and ill- treatment, including sexual abuse, have allegedly been inflicted on these children. The Committee also expressed its deep concernthat the military intentionally impedes access to food, funds, medical aid, and communication to weaken the support base for armed resistance and provoke fear. Child trafficking and child labour are reportedly on the rise in Myanmar. In the statement, the committee also explained the children being remained out of school, the attacks against schools, cases of the use of schools by armed groups, etc. The committee urged Myanmar’s military to cease involving children in the hostilities, stop taking children hostage, end unlawful detention and torture and ill-treatment of children in captivity, and release all detained children immediately and unconditionally.The committee also called on the international community to urgently reassess and redesign the global response to the crises in Myanmar, prioritize children’s rights over other considerations, and take concrete measures to alleviate their suffering.
On 30 June 2022, the UN Office of Cooperation of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) published Myanmar Humanitarian Fund Annual Report 2021. In the Report, main topics such as 2021 in review, Donor Contributions, Allocations Overview, Lessons learned and best practices and Fund Performance were included. Under 2021 in review section, humanitarian context of Myanmar in 2021 were explained, including humanitarian situation in 2021, COVID-19 pandemic, internal displacements, security and access constraints, and people in need. It mentioned that in 2021, Myanmar faced an unprecedented political, socioeconomic, health, human rights and humanitarian crisis with needs escalating dramatically following the military takeover on 1 February and a severe third wave of COVID-19. It explained that the expansion of the conflict into areas that were previously peaceful and clashes between Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and People’s Defence Forces (PDF) increased displacement and drove worsening needs. Civilians endured hostilities and insecurity, with hundreds of thousands displaced and vastes swathes of the country affected by the destruction and burning of homes and property. It also informed that COVID-19 cases and related deaths reached their peak in July 2021 and declined for the remainder of the year. By the end of 2021, slightly over 531,000 confirmed cases were reported, with more than 19,200 fatalities. The report concluded that low vaccination rates at the time of the third wave were a contributing factor. Vaccinations for those on the priority list, including senior citizens aged above 65, healthcare workers and volunteers, resumed in December across many parts of the country. By the end of November 2021, slightly over 28.7 million vaccine doses had been administered.
Regarding the IDPs, the report stated that the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) within Myanmar rose substantially in 2021. According to the UN, of the 690,000 IDPs in Myanmar as of 27 December 2021, about 52 per cent were women, and 34 per cent were children. Of the total, 320,000 were displaced because of armed conflict and insecurity since 1 February 2021. Most of the new displacement occurred in Myanmar’s northwest (Chin, Magway, and Sagaing) and southeast (Kayah, Kayin, Mon, and Tanintharyi) as well as in Kachin and Shan states. The new IDPs faced terrible conditions—some in camps, some in host communities and others in the jungle, without adequate food, shelter, sanitation, and medical care. The new IDPs are in addition to the 346,000 people already displaced in Kachin, Kayin, Rakhine and Shan states before February 2021. It underlined that across the country, three million people needed assistance and protection 2021. This included one million people identified in the original 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and another two million people subsequently identified in the Myanmar Interim Emergency Response Plan (IERP) in the wake of the February military takeover. The total requirement for the two plans amounted to US$ 385.6 million (HRP 2021 at $ 276.4 million and IERP 2021 at $109.2 million). By December, the response plans were collectively 64 per cent funded at $246 million. Donors’ contributions to the MHF represented 8.5 per cent of the funding secured against both response plans combined.
According to the Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5 of UNICEF Myanmar for 1 to 30 June 2022, during halfway throughout the year, UNICEF has only received 19 per cent of the required financial resources to respond to increasing humanitarian needs. This is severely affecting the capacity to respond. Without additional resources, targeted children in need will not access humanitarian assistance and services. The national total of internally displaced people (IDP) has reached an unprecedented 1.1 million, including 758,500 IDPs since 1 February 2021, consequently increasing the multisectoral needs of the displaced communities. Direct distribution was provided by UNICEF to IDPs in Loikaw and Demoso townships in Kayah from 7 to 14 June. A total of 16,023 individuals from 3,566 households received much-needed WASH, child protection, education, health and nutrition supplies. 1,862 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition have received treatment since the beginning of the year, representing 5 per cent of the target. The nutrition programme has a funding gap of 86 per cent. With additional funding, the targeted 37,503 severely malnourished children could be provided with therapeutic treatment.
Date: 3 July 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York