Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been over 19 months since 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 in turmoil, and made people suffer with inhumane and disproportionate actions.
As of 4 September 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,263 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, 15,325 people have been arrested and a total of 12,142 people remain in detention, whereas a total of 125 people have been sentenced to death, including 83 post-coup death row prisoners and 42 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians. Four democracy activists who were given to death sentence were executed by the military junta in July 2022.
Military killing innocent civilians in Sagaing
According to the Irrawaddy news, local defense forces and residents saidthe Myanmar military killed nearly 30 civilians in the east of Kantbalu Township and the west of Kyunhla Township in Kantbalu District of Sagaing Region over the last week of August and the first week of September 2022. The clashes between military troops and defense forces began in the last week of August when the military launched both air and ground attacks against villages. It was reported that on 24 August 2022, the military started launching air strikes on some villages in the border area where Kantbalu, Kawlin and Kyunhla townships meet. The brutal attacks left villagers dead, including a 6-year-old boy and a pregnant woman from Thit Saint Kone Village, Kantbalu Township.
The news reported that on 2 September 2022, at least two dozen bodies were found at the monastery in Tal Pin Seik Village, Kyunhla Township, and that local defense forces confirmed the victims were the people who were arrested by the military between 25 and 28 August 2022. The military reportedly continued air attacks on Aung Chan Thar, Lat Khote Pin and Koe Htaung Bo village tracts, and deployed army columns in the area. During their operations, the military burned the villages. Local PDF groups reportedly said the death toll could increase since bodies are usually found for several days after the military leaves an area it has controlled. It was reported that about 200 houses were burned down in Kyunhla Township alone from 1 September to 4 September 2022. At least three military columns are now deployed in Kantbalu district. They arrested and took prisoner at least 100 civilians, according to the local PDFs. The Irrawaddy reported that local residents said at least 10 villages were torched in Kantbalu district alone during the two-week period and more than 40,000 people have fled the area.
Military further sentencing civilian government’s leaders
The Myanmar military regime reportedly sentenced detained President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Union Government Office Minister Min Thu to an additional three years in prison with hard labour on 2 September 2022. According to Myanmar Now, the three leaders from the civilian government were accused of violating Section 130(a) of the Penal Code by unfairly influencing the election commission. The State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was previously sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment in December, January, April and August for 10 other convictions, bringing her total term to 20 years. President Win Myint is facing five corruption charges related to the rental and the purchase of helicopters for disaster relief during the NLD’s administration, and he has been sentenced to five years in prison for three charges. Union Minister Min Thu has been charged with corruption under Section 55 of the Penal Code accusing him of accepting 30m kyat (nearly US$17,000) worth of NLD t-shirts and backpacks from a business owner during the party’s rallies in the lead-up to the 2020 general election.
Sentencing former British Ambassador and husband
According to Myanmar Now, the former British Ambassador to Myanmar Vicky Bowman and her Burmese husband Htein Lin were arrested at their home in Yangon on 24 August 2022 and taken to Insein Prison. On 2 September 2022, the military controlled court sentenced the Ambassador and her husband to one year in prison. It was reported that the Ambassador was charged under Article 13(1) of the Immigration Act for violating the terms of her visa, and her husband was found guilty under Article 13(5) of the same law for abetting his wife’s violation. Myanmar Now reported that their arrests were followed by growing diplomatic tensions between the UK government and the military regime. Hours before the couples were arrested, the UK added three companies to their sanctions list. The military regime also expelled the UK ambassador-designate to Myanmar Pete Vowles in July.
Military committing additional atrocities
On 28 August 2022, military forces reportedly captured Min Lae, who is suffering mental health difficulties, from Thayetchaung Township, Tanintharyi Region. When he was arrested, Min Lae was wearing a shirt with a NLD logo. He was reportedly beaten severely and taken away.
On 29 August 2022, it was reported that the military forces raided Nyaung Pin Zauk Village, Myaing Township, Magway Region; and arrested a local resident named Khaing Win. He was reportedly tortured to death and his body was found with a gouged out eye, stab wounds on his thigh and calf, and other signs of physical torture.
On 1 September 2022, Myanmar Now reported that a woman was shot in the head during a military raid on a home in Tanintharyi Region’s Launglon Township. The local anti-junta People’s Defence Force (PDF) told Myanmar Now that Mee Wai’s house in Pyin Gyi village, more than 20 miles north of Launglon town, was targeted in the early morning that day. The military reportedly fired weapons and took money and other valuable things from the house. The owner of the house, Mee Wai, survived the shooting, but she was left in a serious condition and is undergoing treatment for her injuries at the hospital. Mee Wai’s husband was the former administrator for Tha Bawt Seik village, in the same tract as Pyin Gyi. He was an early member of a junta-backed militia and had been murdered by unidentified perpetrators last September.
On 31 August 2022, an artillery shell fired by the military reportedly hit an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Sagaing Region’s Myaung Township. The attack killed two civilians, and severely injured three more, including a child. According to Myanmar Now, the Civil Defence and Security Organisation of Myaung (CDSOM), a coalition of local resistance groups, claimed that the military had been aiming heavy weaponry at Zee Kyun village, where the IDP camp is located, because they military assumed that resistance force members were sheltering there.
Activities of the National Unity Government
The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government H.E. Zin Mar Aung met with the Czech Foreign Minister H.E. Jan Lipavsky on 2 September 2022 in Prague. They discussed the current situation of Myanmar, and the Union Minister extended her appreciation to the Czech people for their unwavering support to the people of Myanmar. During the Union Minister’s visit to the Czech Republic, she also met with the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic Mrs. Marketa Pekarova Adamova and the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security Mr. Pavel Fischer.
The National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar marked the fifth anniversary of the widespread military atrocities directed against the Rohingya community in Rakhine State. In its statement the National Unity Government acknowledged with great shame that historic exclusionary and discriminatory policies, practices and rhetoric against the Rohingya and other ethnic groups also laid the ground for these escalating atrocities. It also mentioned that historic impunity has enabled the Myanmar military to commit countrywide atrocities at the helm of an illegal military junta. The National Unity Government reassured that it is intensifying efforts with the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, and options for universal jurisdiction to deliver justice to the Rohingya and to rigorously punish perpetrators of atrocity crimes. It highlighted that the NUG is acting on the commitments set out in its Policy Position on the Rohingya in Rakhine State, including comprehensive law and policy reform, in consultation with the Rohingya and other minority communities, that will prioritise citizenship rights, non-discrimination, equal opportunities, and combating hate speech. It urged international organisations to deliver tangible means of support and to work together with the National Unity Government and all stakeholders to bring justice and peace for the Rohingya community.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
UNOCHA highlighted the situation of Myanmar on 2 September 2022 that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the armed conflict while households are grappling with financial stress as a result of soaring inflation and, almost 1.3 million people are currently displaced across the country. It is said that funding is urgently needed to procure depleted supplies for both the ongoing response and to meet new needs both for displaced people and affected communities. Rising food prices are also mentioned, and it is reported that constrained agricultural production nationwide are contributing to deep food insecurity as items become more unaffordable for much of Myanmar’s population. It also expresses that concerns remain regarding food availability during the upcoming lean season and low availability of some medical products due to import issues. It said that due to a shortfall in funding and access constraints, partners are not able to deliver the depth of relief.
UNOCHA also released the Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 Mid-Year Report (1 January to June 30) on 2 September 2022. It reported that the use of heavy weapons, including air strikes and artillery fire, continues to claim lives and pose risks to the safety and security of civilians, while raids, random searches and arrests are of grave concern. It said that the destruction of civilian properties, particularly homes, combined with the protracted fighting, is prolonging the displacement of IDPs and further degrading people’s fragile living conditions. It highlights that the arrival of the monsoon in the second quarter of the year has been a miserable time for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in informal sites and in the jungle or forest without proper shelter. It states that humanitarian operating space is under increasing threat from bureaucratic blockages imposed by the junta around registration, travel, banking, and visas.
Date: 4 September 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York