Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (31 January 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
One year 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 into turmoil, and made people suffer with inhuman and disproportionate actions.
As of 31 January 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 1,503 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 11,838 people have been arrested, 8,835 people remain in detention, and 1,972 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Threatening Silent Strike with Criminal Charges
During the last week of January, anti-military protesters and strike groups have begun promoting the holding of a silent strike across Myanmar on 1 February 2022 to mark the anniversary of the brutal military coup d’état. The General Strike Coordination Body (GSCB) aims to empty the streets on the one-year coup anniversary in commemoration of those killed or arrested by the SAC’s forces throughout the last year. During the silent strike, all civilians will be asked to refrain from going out in public between 10 am and 4 pm.
The military later announced that anyone found to be taking part in or promoting the silent strike would face criminal charges and see their property confiscated. Those charges include Section 52a of the Counterterrorism Law, Section 124a and 505a of the Penal Code, and Section 33a of the Telecommunications Law. In Lawksawk Township in Southern Shan State, it is reported that police and the SAC’s administrative staff have been pressuring the shops owners to sign pledges to open their business on 1 February 2022.
A secret document of a pro-military group dated 21 January 2022 requesting the Police Station in Dagon Township in Yangon permission to hold a rally in Yangon to counter the Silent Strike on 1 February 2022, was leaked to the public on 30 January 2022.
Threatening to confiscate properties in Mindat
According to a credible report, on 27 January 2022, the military forces called out loudly across the main road of Mindat in Chin State telling residents to return home. It is reported that if people do not fully return home by 1 February 2022, the military announced that they would confiscate their properties. The military has also dropped leaflets and called the residents not to get connected with Chin Defence Force (CDF). They threatened the shop owners in the town that if their shops are closed on 1 February 2022, they will be prosecuted.
Since intense fighting had erupted in April 2021 in Mindat, more than 85 % of the town population have fled the town.
Sentencing Young Activists
According to the report of the AAPP, six activists named Zin Lin, Win Htet Mar, Thura Aung, Win Htike Ko Ko, Min Hein Thu and Phyo Hein Kyaw, were sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labor, under Section 395 of the Penal Code, by the Eastern Yangon District Court on 27 January. They have been detained since 19 September 2021.
In addition, Linn Linn Htike, a taxi driver from Grab Taxi, who drove for these six activists, was also sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labor, under Section 395 and 114 of the Penal Code by the Eastern Yangon District Court on the same day.
Four Civilians were killed in Sagaing
On 26 January 2022, after the Ayadaw Revolutionary Alliance reportedly detonated the bombs near Baw Kone Village where a military vehicle was damaged and injured military troops, several soldiers raided the village and shot at people. According to a local resident, the military killed four civilians, including an uncle and his two nephews, one of them was a 10-year-old boy, who were working on their farm and the soldiers shot a man in the head while he was riding his bicycle.
The military forces also torched huts on farmland in Baw Kone and arrested three villagers. Two of those arrested, both women, were reportedly released with bruises on their faces later in the evening of the same day. According to the local residents, the military troops are stationed about one mile away from Baw Kone village at the Naing Gyi Aing police station and have been burning houses, robbing and killing civilians in the surround areas.
Seven PDF Fighters were murdered in Sagaing
According to the Myanmar Now News, seven members of the People’s Defence Force (PDF) were captured and shot to death by the military forces on 28 January 2022 in Ye-U Township in Sagaing Region. The leader of the PDF group said the resistance fighters were caught near Ywar Meik Thar village and seven of them were killed. Four of them were from Ye-U Village while two were from Chan Thar Village and another one was from Inn Pet Village.
It is reported that the day before the resistance fighters were killed, the PDF attacked a column of soldiers with explosives in Chan Thar Village and killed approximately seven soldiers. The military forces stayed the night in the village and a second column of soldiers came to the area on the following day. The PDF leader said the second column might have caught the PDF fighters. the column ran into them while they were setting up explosive devices. Two of the PDF fighters who were planting the explosives managed to escape. When PDF members returned to the area, they found bodies with head injuries and hands tied behind their backs and one body was burned. A helicopter was reportedly seen hovering above the area in the afternoon after the killings.
Seven people were reportedly found dead in Yae Myat, another village in Ye-U Township, during the last month after the military launched an air raid. Junta soldiers occupied the village after the raid and burned down around 60 houses.
Arresting Volunteers from a Charity Clinic
A charity clinic in Dawei in Tanintharyi Region was reportedly raided by the military and police on 24 January 2022. Around 30 soldiers seized an ambulance, medications, and medical appliances and arrested seven volunteers at the site. According to a local source, no one could contact to those arrested and nobody knew where they were taken. All arrested volunteers are in their 20s and had reportedly been working in the clinic throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 27 January 2022, the Acting President, the Union Prime Minister and the Union Minister of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government of Myanmar met with Mr. Derek Chollet, the Counselor and Mr. Kin Moy, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs of the U.S Department of State.
In the meeting, the National Unity Government discussed the challenges on the ground, issues related to humanitarian assistance, the coordination with ethnic political forces and the view of the NUG on the role of the ASEAN and the UN Special Envoy’s attempt to overcome the political crisis in Myanmar. The Counselor from the U.S Department of State reiterated that the US has been working with its allies to help Myanmar’s situation more effectively.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 25 January 2022, the 286 organizations including ActionAid, Amnesty International, and ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights issued a joint statement, stressing the need to convene an open meeting of the UN Security Council to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation and urgent civilian protection concerns in Myanmar as a matter of extreme urgency. The statement underlined that as one year has approached since the military coup in Myanmar, all UN Security Council member states have a shared responsibility to address the crisis in an open setting and share national positions to take actions.
On 27 January 2022, Amnesty International said ahead of the one-year period since the military coup in Myanmar that many more people will suffer and this human rights crisis could worsen, if the international community continues to drag its feet on the grave human rights violations including lethal violence targeted at protestors. It is stressed that concrete action aimed at holding the military accountable and preventing their access to weaponry must be taken now.
Australia’s Woodside Petroleum said on 27 January 2022 that Woodside is withdrawing from projects in strife-torn Myanmar, following a similar decision by Total and Chevron to withdraw from Myanmar. Woodside put all its Myanmar activities under review after the military coup. Woodside said that it has already relinquished some of its exploration permits in Myanmar and is preparing to end other operations there.
On 28 January 2022, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged the international community to intensify pressure on the military to stop its campaign of violence against the people of Myanmar and to insist on the prompt restoration of civilian rule. The UN High Commissioner said, “one year after the military seized power, the people of Myanmar – who have paid a high cost in both lives and freedoms lost – continue to advocate relentlessly for their democracy”, and urged governments – in the region and beyond – and businesses, to listen to this plea. She said that the people of Myanmar have extraordinary courage and resilience in standing up for their basic human rights, and the international community must now show its resolve to support them through concrete actions to end this crisis. UN High Commissioner also stressed, “As long as impunity prevails, stability in Myanmar will be a fiction. Accountability of the military remains crucial to any solution going forward – the people overwhelmingly demand this.”
The President of the UN Security Council, Norway Ambassador Ms. Mona Juul, issued a press statement on Myanmar on 28 January 2022, calling for an immediate cessation of violence, for release of all political detainees, including the State Counsellor and President, and urging the military to immediately implement the ASEAN Five-point Consensus. In her statement, the Norway Ambassador remarked that next week marks one year since the military coup that led to a wave of violence, deaths, and immense suffering for thousands of people. She also remarked that Norway is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and the increased fighting across the country, as well as strongly condemns all attacks directed against civilians – especially children.
Marking the one-year anniversary of the coup on 31 January 2022, the United States coordinating with the United Kingdom and Canada to demonstrate the international community’s strong support for the people of Myanmar, imposed treasury sanctions on regime officials and military-affiliated cronies. The sanctions were imposed on the Directorate of Procurement of the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services; on Tay Za, a prominent business supporter of the regime, and his adult sons, Htoo Htet Tay Za and Pye Phyo Tay Za; and on prominent business supporter of the regime Jonathan Myo Kyaw Thaung and his KT Services and Logistics (KTSL) Company Limited. Those coordinating action also included the designation of Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo, Union Attorney General Thida Oo, and Anti-Corruption Commission Chair Tin Oo for their role in enabling the regime to undermine the rule of law and Myanmar’s democratic institutions.
Date: 31 January 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York