Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
Already nine months have reached since the coup; the Myanmar military group is still ignoring the will of the people, putting the country into turmoil with disproportionate actions when the people are facing the nationwide health crisis under the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of 30 October 2021, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a total of 1,222 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 9,490 people have been arrested, 7,024 people have still been detained, and 1,954 people have been issued with warrants since 1 February 2021 when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Nevertheless, demonstrations against the military, anti-coup movements, and pro-democracy activities are still actively and coordinately continued.
Heartbreaking Situation of Thantlang
According to the local news media, more than 160 homes were burnt down by the Myanmar military troops in Thantlang in the western part of Chin State on 29 October 2021.
It is reported that such a vicious attack came after a soldier who looted a shop in town was shot dead by the Chinland Defence Force (CDF). Then the military troops occupied the area around the town and shot at least ten rounds of artillery into the town, which started fires. In accordance with a CDF spokesperson, several troops had arrived at the location at which the soldiers were killed and also began torching houses. By 5 pm on that day, at least 40 homes had reportedly burnt down while the fires continued.
Around 160 houses were reportedly burnt down, including the church on the Rock, the Presbyterian church, and a building attached to the Thantland Baptist church. Save the Children also reported that their local office in Thantland was destroyed in the fire. The photos of the heartbreaking situation of Thantland were viral on the internet.
Nearly 8,000 residents from Thantland fled following military assaults that destroyed 18 homes and a government building in September. Thousands of the civilians displaced from Thantlang have been taking shelter in villages along the India-Myanmar border, with others crossing into India’s Mizoram State.
Response of the National Unity Government on Thantland: Following the atrocities committed by the terrorist military group in Thantlang Township of Chin State on 29 October 2021, the National Unity Government issued a Statement on 30 October 2021. In the statement, the damage caused by the military’s attacks and burning in the Thantlang township, the atrocities and damage committed by the military in Thantlang Township on 18 September 2021, which forced the local people to flee for their lives, the damages caused by the military’s heavy artillery in Loikaw and Demoso townships of Kayah State, request to the public to continue their support to the members of the people's defense forces who are against the terrorist military group, appeal to the members of the security forces to stop involving in the military and cooperate with the peoples. The National Unity Government also urged the ASEAN, the UN, and the international community to continue monitoring the updated situation on the atrocities and war crimes of the military and take effective measures to stop the suffering of the civilians urgently.
Permanent Representative of Myanmar Called Upon the UN: On the same day on 29 October 2021, Permanent Representative of Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun delivered a statement in the Third Committee of the 76th UNGA that “decisive, timely action” by the UN, in particular, the UNSC is “well overdue,” and highlighted the most recent military assault on Thantlang as evidence of the deteriorating conditions in Myanmar. He called upon ‘Your serious attention to basic rights of all people and your action to prevent all people from such atrocities is seriously needed.’
Reactions of the Military Supporters: After the disaster committed by the military happened in Thantlang, local news media reported the responses of the pro-military supporters, including the members of the military-linked USDP Party. It is said that a spokesperson of the USDP allegedly threatened that there would be more similar attacks in other towns if the civilians continued against the military.
Burning Down Houses by the Military
A local news agency reported that on 27 October 2021, the military troops raided Yi Dway Village, seven miles from Kanbalu Township within Sagaing Region, and burned down at least ten houses. According to the locals, the military troops arrived at the village in the afternoon of 27 October by a military truck and three civilian vehicles, shot the guns randomly, and then began systematically setting fire to the houses of those who have supported the National League Democracy (NLD). After torching the houses, it is reported that the military troops took all the rice and oil from those houses.
Atrocities Committed by the Military
According to the AAPP, on the evening of 23 October 2021, two youths named Htet Wai Naing and Than Soe Oo, living in Oak Tayan Ward in Dawei Township of Tanintharyi Region, were arrested by the military troops and then shot dead on a forest path. On the following day, their families were told to retrieve their dead bodies by a volunteer group.
On 24 October 2021, a civilian named Zaw Min Tun, living in a hut in a field near Ywar Thit Kone Village in Khin-u Township of Sagaing Region, was shot dead by the military troops. His lifeless body was then set on fire behind a monastery.
On the early morning of October 26, the SAC’s soldiers raided Kyo Pin Thar Village in Poungdei Township of Bago Region. A local villager named Chit Shine, who was evading arrest for being involved in an anti-coup protest, was shot dead during the incident.
On the morning of 26 October 2021, Khu Tha La, assistant abbot at the monastery in Yin Shay Village, Yekyi Township of Ayeyarwady Region, was shot dead in the chest. He was killed while returning from Ngathaingchaung Town, and a novice, who was together with Ku Tha La, was also shot and injured his ear.
On 27 October 2021, it was reported that an NLD youth member, Min Min Thu, a.k.a Mohammad Har Ni, from East Mawtone Village in Tanintharyi Township of Tanintharyi Region, was tortured to death during interrogation. He was arrested by the 557 Infantry Battalion and Military Security Affairs on 25 October 2021.
On 27 October 2021, the soldiers arrested three NLD supporters living in London Win Ward in Maha Aung Myay Township, Mandalay Region. They are Mr. San Lwin, aged 60 years old, Mr. Moe Gyi, aged 50 years old, and a former hundred households administrator of London Win Ward named Mr. Kyaw Htay Aung, aged 40 years old. After two days later of their arrests, the families were informed to retrieve the bodies of Mr. Kyaw Htay Aung and Mr.San Lwin. It is reported that there were stab wounds and injuries on the dead bodiesdue to consistent torture.
It is reported that a former political prisoner named Mr. Kyaw Naing Tun, a.k.a A Thay Lay, who was released from Magway Central Prison on 19 October 2021, was rearrested at his home on 27 October 2021. He was then killed on the following day during interrogation due to injuries consistent with torture; particularly, the back of his head was crushed.
Continuous Arrests against the Civilians
Raid and Arrest in Myaing Township: On 27 October 2021, 15 villagers were reportedly beaten and arrested by the military troops during a raid on a village in Myaing Township of Magway Region. Residents of Padaingdaw village in southern Myaing fled their homes before dawn as around 30 soldiers arrived at 5am. Some of those running away encountered the military and were arrested. Among those arrested were a mother, her five-year-old boy,and two elderly villagers.
According to anescaped villager, the troops assumed that local People’s Defence Force (PDF) members were based in Padaingdaw. They started beating the youth they had arrested when their phones rang repeatedly. Then they entered the village and torched a hut at the edge. After the troops occupied Padaingdaw’s monastery and stationed themselves there, another villager said they searched the village house by house looking for PDF members.
On 27 October 2021, the military troops raided Yadanar Oo Monastery in Meikhtila Township, Mandalay Region. They then arrested Mr.Zayyar Thin Hlaing, a monastery librarian, Mr.Min Min, a former ward administrator of Pyitharyar (South) Ward, and the five youths who volunteer at the monastery’s library. On 28 October 2021, five more children were reportedly arrested.
Arrests of Teachers and Students: In Chanayethazan Township in Mandalay on the night of 30 October 2021, more than 100 troops reportedly arrived in the area and arrested six people, including two former Students’ Union Leaders and striking teachers.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The National Unity Government published a Statement of Acting President Duwa Lashi La for the ASEAN Summit on 22 October 2021. In the statement, explanations on the consequences of the military coup in Myanmar, including the political, economic, humanitarian, and human rights crisis, have greatly threatened the regional security, the willingness of the NUG to closely cooperate with the ASEAN to resume the democracy in Myanmar, and the regional stability, the continued atrocities committed by the military, the goals and plans of the NUG to govern and administer the country. In the statement, the NUG appealed three points to the ASEAN partners. These included (1) to recognize the members of the NUG as the official representatives of the Myanmar people; (2) to immediately cooperate with the NUG to provide humanitarian assistance and medical support to the increasing number of civilians who are in urgent need of help; (3) to help end impunity of the military group regarding their weapons, their money, etc.
On 24 October 2021, the NUG appointed Mr. Bo Hla Tint as the Ambassador of the National Unity Government to the ASEAN.
On 25 October 2021, the Acting President of the National Unity Government, Duwa Lashi La, had a virtual meeting with Mr. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor of the President of the United States. Minister for Foreign Affairs of the NUG, Daw Zin Mar Aung, also attended the meeting. During the meeting, discussions such as effective measures to ensure the responsibilities and accountability of the SAC, including the ASEAN Five-point consensus, the following atrocities and arrests after the coup, humanitarian assistance, and cooperation with the countries in the regions, were made.
On the same day, the National Unity Government issued a statement on the barbaric arrest of Ko Jimmy, AKA Kyaw Min Yu, 8888 student, and pro-democracy leader. In the statement, it was stated that Ko Jimmy had been brutally arrested and tortured by the military, and as a consequence, he has been suffering the effects of severe head injuries and has been abducted to an unknown location. The NUG, through the statement, demanded that Ko Jimmy be given all necessary medical care and support to recover from the junta’s inhumane and brutal torture fully. The NUG further demanded the unconditional release of Ko Jimmy and others held in illegal detention and full respect for the dignity and human rights of the unjustly detained persons. The NUG also requested the international community, the governments of the world, civil societies, and in particular ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar to condemn the horrific act of brutality, demand access to Ko Jimmy and his unlawfully arrested compatriots to ascertain the true severity of their conditions, and verify the quality of their treatment, and further demand his unconditional release.
On 27 October 2021, on behalf of the NUG, the Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, Daw Zin Mar Aung, welcomed the appointment of Dr. Noeleen Heyzer as the new United Nations Special Envoy on Myanmar.
On 29 October 2021, the Ministry of Human Rights of the NUG issued a statement urging the people of Myanmar to respect human rights while resisting the military group. In the statement, people are encouraged to use weapons only to resist the military and protect themselves. They are reminded of the possible accountability measures on any unjust or unlawful activities. All Myanmar people are further requested to avoid any violent manners, unlawful killings, writing hatespeeches to attack the civilians, including children, based on hatred and resentful minds.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
On 26 October 2021, in response to the horrendous human rights abuses against workers, human rights defenders, and trade unionists in Myanmar, IndustriALL Global Union, and IndustriAll European Trade Union, on behalf of trade unions across the globe, called on the European Union to immediately revoke Myanmar’s trade preferences.
At the U.S – ASEAN summit held on 26 October 2021, the U.S president denounced the military coup in Myanmar, expressed grave concerns on the horrific violence in the country, and called on the military to immediately end the violence, release those unjustly detained, and restore the democracy.
A summit of South-East Asia countries began on 26 October 2021 without a representative from Myanmar. Brunei, who chaired the three-day online summit, said on 28 October that Myanmar remains an integral part of ASEAN, and ASEAN hopes that the military will engage and work with the ASEAN special Envoy on Myanmar to defuse the political crisis in the country. Brunei added that ASEAN would continue to assist Myanmar through the implementation of five-point consensus.
On 28 October 2021, the Foreign Minister of Cambodia said that Cambodia, the incoming chair of ASEAN, would maintain pressure on Myanmar and push the military to open dialogue with its opponents.
On 28 October 2021, the UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said in an interview with The Associated Press that in Myanmar, the civil war has spread throughout the country. She added, "We have violence everywhere. It is not controlled anymore, and the scale of violence is very large. And, therefore, I would say, yes, it is a civil war.’"
On 29 October 2021, the UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, issued a joint statement, urging all parties in Myanmar for the immediate cessation of the violations of all child rights. The statement also calls on retaining and enacting domestic legislation criminalizing the six grave violations and promoting all aspects of the Child Rights Law, as well as engaging collectively in the protection of children from the ravages of conflict, including the prevention of their recruitment and use.
In response to the incident that buildings were set ablaze in Thantlang Township of Chin State, including one of its own offices, Humanitarian Organization – “Save the Children” – said on 29 October 2021 that this incident shows the deepening crisis in Myanmar with escalating violence affecting large numbers of children across Myanmar, and those indiscriminate attacks on civilians and humanitarian organizations are violations of international humanitarian laws. “Save the Children” issued that it condemns these attacks in the strongest terms, calling on the parties responsible to refrain from any such attack and protect civilians – especially children.
With grave concerns on credible reports that more than 100 houses and Christian churches in the Chin State of Myanmar have been burned down and destroyed by the security forces, the U.S Department of State issued a press release on 31 October 2021, condemning such brutal attacks, actions and human rights violations and calling on the military to immediately end the violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore the country’s path to inclusive democracy. The press release also expressed deep concern on the intensification of military operations in various parts of the country, including in Chin State and the Sagaing Region.
Date: 31 October 2021
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York