Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (7 August 2022)
Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar
It has been over 18 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 5 August 2022, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 2,158 people were ruthlessly killed by the military, 15,022 people have been arrested and a total of 11,925 people remain in detention, whereas a total of 119 people have been sentenced to death, including 77 post-coup death row prisoners and 41 in absentia since 1 February 2021, when the military unleashed systematic and targeted attacks and violence against innocent civilians.
Serious crimes committed by the Military
Killing innocent civilians
According to the news, due to the military’s shelling and firing at a displacement camp in Demoso Township in Karenni (Kayah) State on 31 July 2022, a 13-year-old girl died instantly, as a piece of shrapnel from the 120 mm shell hit her in the head. It is reported that her father died with similar injuries the next day, and her 17-year-old brother and her uncle were injured in the explosion.
AAPP reported that the military forces detained a civilian named Soe Myint from Bommaw Ward, Dawei Township in Tanintharyi Region on 4 August 2022, and in the next day, it is reported that his body was found on Yangon-Dawei Road near Zayar Village in Dawei Township. It was found out that he was attacked, as his body was with a gunshot wound and with injuries.
On 7 August 2022, it is reported that a civilian was shot dead by the military forces in Aung Myay Thar San township of Mandalay Town. The people were gathering to carry out the anti-military protest in Mandalay. When the military forces came to arrest those people, two men ran away by motorbikes. As the military forces fired guns, a civilian was shot dead.
Torching and destroying villages in Depayin Township
It is reported that the military forces arrived at the villages of Inpin-Yadin and Kaikan in Dapayin Township of Sagaing Region on 4 August 2022. Using the military’s jet, they attacked the villages and the nearby villages. Furthermore, the military forces torched the villages and destroyed the houses, in which a villager from a nearby village was killed and other 10 villagers were arrested.
Torching a village in Ayartaw Township
It is reported that following the clashes between the local resistance members and the military forces, the military forces stationed at the Minywar Village in Ayartaw Township of Sagaing Region on 5 August 2022. On the day they arrived the village, the military forces hit the village with the airstrike attacks. In the morning of 6 August 2022, the military forces torched the village and destroyed the houses. Due to the incident, multiple houses were burned down and an 80-year-old woman died by being burned alive.
Conducting airstrike attacks in villages of Minkin Township in an indiscriminate manner
Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported that using three military jets, the military forces conducted airstrike attacks in the villages within Minkin Township of Sagaing Region on 6 August 2022. It is reported that the military’s airstrike attacks targeted and frequently fired heavy artillery in the villages of Thintaw, Nyaung Pin Thar and LaungPyae. Due to these brutal attacks, the local residents were forced to flee.
According to the local news, the military forces raided and arrested a dozen people in Launglon Township of Tanintharyi Region during last week. In the villages of Hin Cho Taw and Thapyay Shaung, 20 km south of Launglon Township, six people were arrested, and another six people were reportedly arrested in Maungmakan Village. It is reported that the military conducted frequent house raids and nightly guest-list checks. They arrested innocent family members, when they cannot find the individuals included in their wanted lists.
According to Myanmar Now News, the military forces detained a dozen of civilians in Yangon on 31 July 2022, following the Myanmar’s resistance movement and protest in response to the military’s execution of four democracy activists. The people of Myanmar banged pots and pans or honked horns in protest in the wake of the military’s latest brutal violence and execution, and due to this protest, arrests were reported in at least four townships in Yangon, including Hlaing township, Bahan township, Mawlamyine Street, and Kamayut township. According to the sources, at least six people were taken into custody in Hlaing township, and at least two people were arrested in Bahan township. On Mawlamyine Street, a man was arrested and taken away in a prison vehicle. In Kamayut township, three people were arrested at a market, shortly after the beginning of the protests.
AAPP reported that the military forces arrested a civilian named Kyaw Win Sein, a protest leader from Homalin Town in Sagaing Region on 1 August 2022. It is reported that he was arrested in Mandalay, while he was waiting to receive medical treatment at a clinic in the town.
Myanmar Now News reported on 5 August 2022 that the two public figures, Model Nang Mwe San (34) and Actress Thinzar Wint Kyaw (34), were arrested by the military. According to the announcement of the military-controlled media, the military council has opened a legal case against them for their acts and sexually published content on adult entertainment sites which harm Myanmar culture. It is reported that they were charged under section 33a of the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. It is found out that Thinzar Wint Kyat is no longer active on social since her short detention by the military in early July, and Nang Mwe San was no longer active on social media since May.
Improperly charging and sentencing civilians
According to the news, a singer named Eto (aka Win Htut Tara), who was detained in Insein Prison, was sentenced to three years imprisonment under Penal Code Section 505A by the Insein Prison special court on 4 August 2022. It is reported that with the prison releases following 19 October 2021, he was released from Insein Prison, and then he was re-arrested the following period.
Disproportionate acts and Persecution against Media Workers
It is reported that on 30 July 2022, the military forces arrested a Photographer and activist named Aye Kyaw, who is the owner of the Sagaing city Harman Photography studio and a member of the Upper Myanmar Photography Association. He is known for documenting anti-military protests. According to the news, approximately ten hours later he has been arrested, his family was contacted and informed by the administrator of the Aung Chanthar ward that he had died, and his body was held in Sagaing City Hospital’s mortuary. According to the reports, the body was left outside of the hospital, and he has been reported dead in custody on the same day when he was arrested.
Myanmar Now News reported on 5 August 2022 that a Japanese documentary film maker named Toru Kubota, who has been detained last week, was sent to Insein Prison. According to the military’s statement, he has been charged under Section 13(1) of Myanmar’s Immigration Law for violating the terms of his visa and Section 505A of the Penal Code for incitement.
Activities of the National Unity Government
On 1 August 2022, H.E Mr. Moe Zaw Oo, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar, met with Assistant Secretary of State Daniel J. Kritenbrink, and discussed over the Myanmar military’s horrific and inhumane executions, as well as the ways to cooperate to end the terrorist atrocities of the military and to support for the people of Myanmar.
On 3 August 2022, the opening ceremony of NUG Representative Office in Australia was conducted. At the ceremony, the representative of the Australian Greens Party announced that the National Unity Government of Myanmar is the legitimate government of Myanmar and urged the other Australian political parties to recognize the NUG as the legitimate government of Myanmar.
On 3 August 2022, H.E Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations, joined the Webinar on Myanmar titled “Responding to the Brutal, Escalating Crisis in Myanmar” organized by the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York. The Webinar was also joined by former US Ambassador to Myanmar H.E. Mr. Scot Marciel.
During the Webinar, Ambassaor Kyaw Moe Tun, remarked that the world has seen the worst brutality and inhumanity of Myanmar military constantly and the international community cannot continue ignoring Myanmar people desperate call for help. He urged the international community to suspend all international representation of the military junta, to cut the revenue streams of the inhumane military and its leader and affiliates effectively, to make sure that the countries in the region cooperate fully and strictly in this regard, to call on ASEAN to step up further for ending the military dictatorship in Myanmar including preventing any representative of the military junta in its meetings and reviewing Five-point Consensus, to call on the United Nations in particular the UN Security Council to act swiftly all possible measures including through utilization of the principle of R2P, to take the example of providing assistance to Ukraine in providing needed assistance financially and in kind to the people of Myanmar, and to immediately recognize the NUG as a legitimate government of the people of Myanmar. The Permanent Representative added that the international community must not let the military’s atrocities continue, and Myanmar needs unified and decisive action from the international community immediately.
On 4 August 2022, Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations delivered a statement at the General Debate of the tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Delivering the statement, the Permanent Representative appealed to those states exporting weapons to the Myanmar military to stop selling them immediately as urged by the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council respectively, as well as to all states to work together for prohibiting the sale of weapons and associated technologies to the military junta and blocking all possible ways through which the Myanmar military could attain weapons. He reaffirmed the full commitments of Myanmar to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, and said that Myanmar will continue to work towards achieving the shared goal of building a world free of nuclear weapons.
Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état
At the United Nations daily press briefing on 1 August 2022, the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said that more than 1.2 million people are now displaced across Myanmar, which includes more than 866,000 people displaced by the conflict and insecurity since the military coup in February last year in the country. The spokesperson said that inflation in commodity prices since May, including food and fuel, is deepening the socioeconomic stress of the people. He mentioned that together with the local partners, the U.N. team is trying to reach 6.2 million people with life-saving assistance this year, and it has reached around half of the target with at least one form of humanitarian assistance at mid-year, despite access constraints and funding shortfalls. He added that to reach the remaining vulnerable communities, they need better access and additional funding, especially in light of inflation.
At the United Nations daily press briefing on 2 August 2022, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said that with regard to the extension of the State of Emergency in Myanmar by the military on 31 July 2022, the Secretary-General reiterated his grave concern regarding the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military since 1 February, and repeats his call yet again for an immediate end to violence and repression, for the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and for the will of the people, and the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners in Myanmar. He also mentioned the International Labour Organization (ILO) says that Myanmar remains deeply impacted by heavy job losses, 18 months after the military coup and two and a half years after the COVID-19 start.
On 4 August 2022, InterAction condemned the military’s execution of four Myanmar pro-democracy activists and is deeply concerned over the humanitarian implications of the increasing violence in Myanmar. InterAction called on the United Nations and relevant international institutions to take the necessary measures, including to protect and restore human rights, fundamental freedoms, and dignity of civilians, to guarantee the urgent lifesaving assistance to all those in need across Myanmar, and to ensure the authorities and other parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law in order to cease indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including on aid workers, facilities, and assets.
At the Joint Communiqué of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) held on 3 August 2022 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the Foreign Ministers extensively discussed the recent developments in Myanmar, expressing their concerns over the prolonged political crisis in the country, including the execution of four democracy activists, as well as their deep disappointment on the limited progress in and lack of commitment of the Myanmar military’s authorities to the timely and complete implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus. The meeting reiterated the commitment of ASEAN to peace and stability in the region and expressed ASEAN's readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful, and constructive manner, including in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and also agreed that the Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair on Myanmar shall engage all Myanmar relevant stakeholders at the earliest.
In a press availability held on 5 August 2022 in Cambodia, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken remarked that the Myanmar military’s execution of four democracy activists despite pleas from many – including the ASEAN chair and the ASEAN special envoy – has alarmed and horrified people across the region and around the world. The U.S Secretary of State urged the Ministers to continue to press the military to end its brutal violence, to release those unjustly detained, to allow humanitarian access, and to restore Myanmar’s path to democracy. He also urged to increase economic pressure, to do more to stop the flows of arms revenue to the military, to insist on accountability for the atrocities that have been committed. Furthermore, the international community is urged not to endorse the regime’s plans for sham elections next year.
On 5 August 2022, in response to the Myanmar military’s detention of Japanese video journalist, Toru Kubota, PEN International and the Japan PEN Club expressed concern, and called for the immediate and unconditional release for the journalist, along with all those unjustly detained in Myanmar for their peaceful expression. They also called on the military to ensure the right to freedom of expression and to immediately and unconditionally release the Japanese video journalist and all those who have been wrongfully detained for their peaceful expression.
In response to the incident that the Photographer and Activist named Aye Kyaw, who was known for documenting anti-junta protests, had been reported death in custody after his arrest on 30 July 2022, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns that killing on 5 August 2022. The IFJ urged Myanmar’s military to immediately investigate the incident and cease its persecution of journalists, media workers and activists.
Date: 7 August 2022
Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York