Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Eighteen 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 29 July 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,138 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 14,917 people have been arrested and a total of 119 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 77 (including 2 children) are detained and 42 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Atrocities committed by the military
Raiding, Killing and Abducting local villagers in Sagaing Region
According to the news, junta troops raided Yae Mein Taung Village of Salingyi Township, Sagaing on 25 July 2022. They killed 5 villagers and took more than 20 villagers as hostages when they left in the following evening. On 26 July 2022, the bodies of the five victims were discovered, four in the Yae Mein Taung Village and one in neighbouring Yae Mein Myauk Village. According to the member of local defense force, two victims have only half their skulls as they were shot in the head. The three victims being able to identified were 70-, 47- and 45-year-old villagers from these two Villages and the other two were unidentified at the time of reporting. On the next day, on 27 July 2022, the bodies of two more men were discovered in southern Sagaing Region’s Salingyi Township. According to an officer of the Salingyi People’s Defence Force (PDF), the bodies were found about 7 km from Yae Min Taung Village. The bullet shells were found near the bodies, which the group had not yet exhumed. The identities of the victims could not be established, but they were believed to be in their late 30s or early 40s. Afterwards, the brutally tortured villager was found near the two bodies by the local defence force. It was reported that he was brutally beaten until he passed out and his back was covered with boot prints and slash marks.
Raiding and torching the villages in Magway Region
According to the local news, the houses in the villages of Myaing Township, and Pale Township, Magway Region were set on fire by the military forces. On 23 July 2022, 70 houses in Kyauk Kan Village were burned down and one villager was killed during those burnings. On 24 July 2022, many houses in Damma Thara and Banboe Village of Magway Region were burned.
Killing innocent civilians
In the morning of 25 July 2022, a local villager named Salai Mang Lian San was shot in the thigh by the junta troop which entered Hniarlawn Village in Hakha Township, Chin State and died due to severe bleeding. Many villagers ran away when the Junta entered their village. The victim had run into the soldiers whilst driving a motorbike to pick up and rescue children from the nursery school at the village.
On 26 July 2022, a 14-year-old boy who was wounded when soldiers opened fire in his village in Sagaing Region’s Khin-U Township on Tuesday died later as his family tried to get him to the hospital. According to the news, a military convoy carrying around 80 soldiers arrived near Magyee Oak Village, Khin-U Township, Sagaing Region, and opened fire. As a result, 14-year old Khant Khant Nyein was shot in his arm and chest. As he had suffered severe wounds, one of the locals volunteered to send Khant Khant Nyein and his mother to the hospital with an ambulance. However, they were seriously shot when they ran into soldiers while trying to leave from the north side of the village. The driver reportedly died instantly after being shot many times in his chest, thigh and pelvis; and Khant Khant Nyein died approximately 15 minutes later. Although the mother survived, she was forced to lie down on the ground, brutally beaten and was kicked in the face. The mother was later escaped from the junta troop. The troop reportedly seized the ambulance.
On 24 July 2022, three civilians were arrested by the junta forces in Pakokku Township, Magway Region with the accusations of being or supporting the People’s Defence Force and writing and spreading fake news. Zarni Tun from Myit Chay Town, was arrested by Myit Chay-Sabay Road as he was accused of being a member of the People’s Defense Force (PDF). Thet Zaw Oo (aka Thet Ko), who lives on Pakokku-Yesagyo Road, was arrested for allegedly supporting PDF forces. The third civilian, Zaw Myo Htut, was accused of writing and spreading fake news and was arrested after his mobile phone was checked on the “Pauk Shwe Pyi Thar” passenger bus at No (6) ward Pakokhu.
On 30 July 2022, Japanese journalist Toru Kubota, was arrested by the military junta along with other anti-military activists. Although the SAC has made no announcements, according to the NHK news, the information was confirmed by the Japan Embassy.
Arbitrary arrests of the CDM staff and their family members
In the early morning of 27 July 2022, the junta soldiers raided a house in Kant Kaw Myaing Ward, Myaungmya Township, Ayeyarwady Region, to find an activist. As they could not find their target, they arrested three persons found at the house as hostages. Those were Khin Thet Nwel, Ye Khaung Soe and Mann Gyi.
On 10 July 2022, Tin Naing Tun and Kyaw Thein Tun, CDM Police Sergeants from No.3 Police Station, Mandalay City and Kyaw Thein Tun’s wife, Khin Htway Yi, and a 7-year old child, La Yaung Cho, were arrested by the junta forces in Naung Kyan Village, Nawnghkio Township, Shan State.
Taking action against the arrested activist
On 22 July 2022, Zaw Min Thu, chairman of the Pyay Technological University Students’ Union, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law. He was arrested on 5 January 2022.
Airstrikes on the civilian areas
On 27 July 2022, the junta troops started airstrikes on the villages in Myainmu Township, Sagaing Region. Using two helicopters, the shootings started from Ayartaw, Monywa towards Mi-Gyaung-Kan Village and Muu-Mandalay Village. Those villagers who fled the attacks and ran towards the monastery in Muu-Mandalay-Myauk Village were captured by the military troops marched to the village. According to the news, the villagers fleeing the air attacks of the junta troops are from the Muu-Mandalay Taung, Muu-Mandalay-Myauk, Kyauk Phyar, Innma, Villages of Myinmu Township and NyaungPinShay, TaLineKyan, MuuThar Villages of Sarr Taung Township, Sagaing Region. The houses of those villages were torched while some of the fled villagers were captured and killed.
On 28 July 2022, fighting broke out between the military troops and the local resistance forces near Taung Myint Village, Pauk Township, Magway Region. Following the conflict, the junta troops used helicopter and attacked the resistance forces as well as the civilian areas. During the fights, the military troops also torched the houses of the local villagers in Taung Myint Village.
Heavy artillery fired at civilian locations
On 27 July 2022, Junta soldiers and Pyu Saw Htee members fired artillery shells at Kyar Pyit Kan Village in Pauk Township, Magway Region. Consequently, a four-and-a-half-year-old girl named Theint Theint Phyu died instantly from one of the artillery shells while she was playing in her compound. On 28 July 2022, the following day, the junta troops torched the whole village. The total damage of the 300-household-village was unconfirmed at the time of reporting.
On 27 July 2022, following the fight between the junta forces and the local defence forces in Sint-Kai Village and Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region, the junta shot heavy artilleries at civilian areas including the monastery in Sint Kai Village. One monk was killed and one villager injured due to those heavy artilleries. After that, when the junta troop with around 50 soldiers raided the village and tried to arrest the villagers, at least 1,000 villagers had to flee for their lives.
Protests on the executions of four democracy activists
After the military junta has announced the extrajudicial executions of the four democracy activists in Insein Prison, Myanmar citizens residing in the U.S., Canada and Netherland have gathered and protested on 26 July 2022. In the United States, the protests were made in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Washington D.C and on Broadway road, Queens, New York. There were also protests by Myanmar citizens living in Thailand, Malaysia and other Asian countries.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 23 July 2022, the Ministry of Human Rights issued an info-sheet regarding the military force responsible for the massacre and burning of 29 civilians in Mone Taing Pin Village, Sagaing Region. The incident happened between the 10 and 12 May 2022 and it is understood to have been the work of Taik-kyi based Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) 708 under the command of Lt. Col. Tun Lin Aung. Many civilians were tortured and set alight. In total, 29 men died as a result of the violence, 19 of whom were found in Mone Tain Pin Village and the remaining 10 were uncovered in Einpin Village. The terrorist SAC troops committed a grave violation of the human rights against the civilians living in Mone Tain Pin Village, Ye-U Township. Although women were not set on fire, they were subject to violence and detained in closed rooms for two consecutive days. The Ministry reaffirmed that it will make continuous efforts to take strong and effective legal measures against the perpetrators and those who command to commit such acts.
On 25 July 2022, the National Unity Government issued a Weekly Newsletter No. 13/2022. The newsletter published articles relating to the NUG’s activities including the announcement of the Ministry of Education claiming that military junta has been using data breach to arrest teachers and deprive children of education, NUG provided the total of 233.64 million worth humanitarian assistance in July, announcement by the Ministry of Labour considering actions to support CDM staff, a statement delivered on 19 July 2022 by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun at UNSC calling on the UNSC to protect children from ongoing grave violations, pointing out of risking having a lost generation of children due to the coup-inflicted consequences, among others.
On 26 July 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Human Rights (MOHR) issued a joint statement condemning in the strongest possible terms the execution of democracy activists and calling on the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency plenary session on Myanmar. It underlined that the UN Security Council’s previous calls for the release of political prisoners have not only failed but have provoked a continuing escalation by the junta, and the UNSC must respond by adopting a resolution that, amongst other decisive steps, refers the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. Furthermore, the statement recalled that ASEAN must act on its Chair’s warning and in follow up to its statement condemning the executions by taking collective action against the terrorist SAC as a threat to peace and security in the region.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
In its statement issued on 25 July 2022, ASEAN denounced and expressed strongly disappointment with the execution of four Myanmar political prisoners namely Kyaw Min Yu also known as Ko Jimmy, Phyo Zeyar Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw by the military despite the appeals by the Prime Minister of Cambodia in his capacity as the ASEAN Chair, as well as other ASEAN member states. The statement also stressed that “the implementation of the death sentences, just a week before the 55th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting is highly reprehensible as it created a setback to and present a gross lack of will to support the efforts, particularly by the ASEAN Chair, in expediting progress on the implementation of the Five-Point Consensus (5PC), namely in building trust and confidence to engender a dialogue among all parties concerned, in order to end violence and alleviate the suffering of the innocent people”.
In the United Nations daily press briefing on 25 July 2022, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, said that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, today condemned in the strongest terms the execution of four democracy activists by Myanmar‘s military — despite repeated calls by the United Nations and the wider international community to not carry out death sentences. He added that Ms. Bachelet said these executions - the first in Myanmar in decades - are cruel violations of the rights to life, liberty and security of a person, and fair trial guarantees. He further mentioned that the High Commissioner called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and others arbitrarily detained, and she urged the country to reinstate its de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty, as a step towards eventual abolition. Regarding a question on Secretary- General’s plan to try to have any discussion with the leaders of Myanmar about these executions or trying to prevent future executions, Deputy Spokesperson answered that a statement from the Secretary-General will be had later on clarifying his position. He added that the Secretary-General agrees with his High Commissioner for Human Rights in the condemnation of these executions, and the Secretary- General opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.
On 25 July 2022, at a regular press briefing, Ned Price, the spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, said there can be no "business as usual" with Myanmar's ruling military following its horrific atrocities including the execution of four democracy activists. He added that all options were on the table as it considered further measures to punish the junta. He called on countries to ban sales of military equipment to Myanmar and refrain from any action that would lend the junta any international credibility. When he was asked if the Biden administration was considering sanctions on Myanmar's gas industry, a sector that was spared in previous rounds of U.S. sanctions, Price replied that in their discussions of further measures, all options were on the table. He added that no country has the potential to influence Myanmar's trajectory more so than China. He also called on the regional ASEAN grouping of countries to maintain precedent of barring junta representatives from regional meetings.
On 25 July 2022, the European Union issued a Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the execution of pro- democracy and opposition leaders in Myanmar/Burma. In the declaration, it was stated that Myanmar’s military regime has executed former NLD Member of Parliament Phyo Zeya Thaw, prominent activist Kyaw Min Yu, widely known as Ko Jimmy as well as Aung Thura Zaw, and Hla Myo Aung. The European Union strongly condemns the executions and expresses its sincere condolences to the bereaved families and friends of the victims. These politically motivated executions represent yet another step towards the complete dismantling of the rule of law and a further blatant violation of human rights in Myanmar. The four men were the first prisoners to be executed in Myanmar in more than three decades, a move that is contrary to the overall worldwide trend to abolish the death penalty. The European Union is fundamentally opposed to the death penalty as an inhumane, cruel and irreversible punishment that violates the inalienable right to life. The executions are reprehensible acts that show that the military authorities have no respect for the life or dignity of the very people they are supposed to protect. They will only exacerbate the polarization, violence and dramatic humanitarian situation in Myanmar. The EU stands unequivocally with the people of Myanmar and their aspirations for freedom, and urges the military regime to end all acts of violence without further delay and calls for the unconditional and immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, as well as to return to a democratic path. We will continue to support all efforts by the United Nations and ASEAN to this end.
In the United Nations’ daily press briefing on 26 July 2022, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that in a statement that was issued on 25 July 2022, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the executions carried out this weekend by the Myanmar military against four political activists in Myanmar and offered his condolences to their families. He said that the Secretary-General opposes the imposition of death penalty in all circumstances, and the Secretary- General reiterates his call for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Haq mentioned that Noeleen Heyzer, Special Envoy on Myanmar, is in Malaysia, where she met on 26 July 2022) with Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to discuss the situation in Myanmar and the need for inclusive engagement and innovative solutions for the Rohingya in and outside of Myanmar.
In a statement on 26 July 2022, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia opposed the death penalty in all circumstances. She called on the regime in Myanmar to cease violence and release all those who were unjustly detained. She called on the regime in Myanmar to cease violence, release all those unjustly detained, and fulfill its commitments under the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus. She also mentioned that sanctions against members of Myanmar’s military regime are under active consideration. She also extended sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives since the coup.
On 27 July 2022, the U.N. Security Council condemned the execution of four democracy activists by Myanmar’s ruling military and called for the release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement approved by all 15 members, the council called for dialogue and reconciliation “in accordance with the will and the interests of the people of Myanmar,” an immediate halt to all violence, respect for human rights and full aid access. The Myanmar military, which seized power in a coup last year, announced on Monday it had executed the activists for aiding “terror acts” by a civilian resistance movement, Myanmar’s first executions in decades. The military on Tuesday defended the executions as “justice for the people,” brushing off a deluge of international condemnation, including from its closest neighbors.
During her two-day mission to Kuala Lumpur at the invitation of Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer echoed the United Nations Secretary-General’s strong condemnation of the executions of pro- democracy leaders by the military as a blatant violation to the right to life, liberty and security of person.
On 28 July 2022, G7 Foreign Ministers issued a statement on the Myanmar Military Junta’s executions. In the statement, the G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative of the EU strongly condemn the four executions by the military junta in Myanmar. G7 underscored that these executions and the absence of fair trials show the junta’s contempt for the unwavering democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar. It mentioned that G7 will continue to condemn in the strongest terms the military coup in Myanmar and express deep concern about the political, economic, social, humanitarian and human rights situation in the country. G7 called on the military regime to immediately end the use of violence, to refrain from further arbitrary executions, to free all political prisoners and those arbitrarily detained and to return the country to a democratic path. G7 continue to support efforts by ASEAN, and call for the military to meaningfully implement all aspects of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus. This includes an inclusive process of dialogue with a broad range of democratic opposition. G7 also continue to support efforts by the United Nations, and encourage effective coordination between the ASEAN Special Envoy and the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary- General on Myanmar.
Regarding the questions about the situation of Myanmar at the U.S. Department Press Briefing on 28 July 2022, Ned Price, a Spokesperson of the State Department answered that the U.S. have consistently said that as long as the junta continues to stand in the way of a return to Burma‘s path to democracy, the U.S. will continue to impose costs and consequences on the junta. The U.S. is, again, looking at all potential options to do so. Some of those options are being considered and discussed with partners in the region and beyond. The U.S. is also cognizant of humanitarian concerns and the humanitarian imperatives facing the people of Burma, so of course the U.S. is going to calibrate its response consistent with what is in the best humanitarian interests of the Burmese people. But as long as the junta continues its repression, as long as its senseless violence continues against the people of Burma, as long as it continues to stand in the way of a return to Burma’s democratic path, the U.S. will continue to increase the costs.
On 31 July 2022, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 20. In the highlights and key messages of the update, it was mentioned that more than 1.2 million people are currently displaced across the country. This includes nearly 866,400 people displaced by the conflict and insecurity since the illegal military coup last year. It was also stated that inflation in commodity prices, including for food, fuel, shelter materials and NFIs, remains a major concern to partners in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable. Interim measures are being applied to mitigate against its impact on humanitarian programming where possible, but communities are struggling in the face of cost pressures. Humanitarians are stepping up efforts to expand support to affected people in northwest Myanmar which hosts the majority of the country’s new IDPs (583,100 as of 25 July 2022). Contingency planning is underway as tensions escalate in Rakhine. The unstable security situation and cyclical displacement across the Southeast and Northwest are exacerbating mental health issues among children and their caregivers, generating increased need for child protection responses in these areas. In northern Shan, forced recruitment, extortion and landmines continue to put IDPs and host communities at risk. In Rakhine, there remain significant shelter gaps for displaced people. There are also significant deficits in water availability in the AA-MAF sites in Rakhine and Chin. In the Southeast, shelter and other humanitarian support is urgently needed for newly displaced people including 5,400 new IDPs in Kyaukkyi township in eastern Bago. The 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is only 13 per cent funded prompting the need for prioritization in the second half of the year.
Date: 31 July 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York