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Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar (9 April 2023)


Weekly Updates on Current Situation in Myanmar


(09-04-2023)


More than twenty-six months ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military attempted an illegal coup, toppled the elected 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 7 April 2023, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), 3,225 people have been ruthlessly killed by the military, whereas 21,276 people have been arrested and a total of 151 individuals have been sentenced to death, of which 109 (including two children) are detained and 42 remain 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 death sentences were executed by the military junta in July 2022.


Atrocities committed by the military


Raiding, killing, torching and looting villages in Sagaing Region


According to the news, junta forces launched air attacks followed by ground assaults onto three villages in Tigyaing Township, Sagaing Region on 31 March 2023. Two junta jets bombed Pauk Kone, Wea Gyi and In Daung Villages on 31 March 2023. When one of the bombs hit a house located between Wea Gyi and In Daung Villages, four villagers, including a couple in their 40s—Soe Naing and Nyo Swe; a woman in her 20s, and the child were killed and five others were injured. Among those four deceased, three were killed on the spot and the girl died on arrival at the hospital. On the next day, the junta columns travelling overland arrived in Nyaung Pin Thar Village with 1,000-household which is located five miles south of Htigyaing town and near the border with Mandalay Region. According to a local resident, the junta soldiers even torched and destroyed the local hospital.


According to the news, on 3 and 4 April 2023, around 100 junta troops raided and set fire to Inn Lel Gyi Village in Kanbalu Township, Sagaing Region. During the raid, two villagers, namely Wa Li, who had suffered from a mental illness, and Htay Maung, were killed. Wa Li’s body, with a gunshot wound, was discovered in the village on 4 April. On 5 April 2023, the burnt body of Htay Maung, with his hands tied behind his back, was also found in the village.


Killing innocent civilians


According to the news, the residents in Salingyi Township, Sagaing Region, said that the junta soldiers killed two local men near the Letpadaung copper mine in Salingyi Township on 1 and 2 April. A local villager named Toe gyi in his 40s was reportedly shot and killed. Another victim, U Naing in his 50s was reportedly captured by a junta column of around 80 troops near the entrance of Kan Kone Village on 1 April 2023. The body of U Naing was found dead in a field just outside of the village two days later. According to the villagers who found his body, it was covered with bruises, most likely caused by beatings. Both victims were local residents of Kan Kone Village, and were also said to be employees of Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned power company that operates at the Letpadaung mine. According to the news, the junta column was advancing along the Pathein-Monywa road to provide security for the copper mining project when it encountered and killed the two men. The reason for the killings was not known, and the military junta has not issued any statement in this regard. According to the local residents, the junta forces have killed a total of 17 civilians near the mine.


News reported that on 3 April 2023, junta forces opened fire indiscriminately at Ma Ni Kone Village in Kyondoe Town, Kawkareik Township, Kayin State. Consequently, a twelve-year-old Wai Tharli Tun was shot in the thigh while he was at a motorbike repair shop. He reportedly died on the way to the hospital.


According to the news, on 6 April 2023, the bodies of two local villagers and one local resistance fighter were found in Pyin Taw-U Village, Kalay township, which is located some 12 miles north of Kalay and two miles east of the Chin State border. According to the local resistance forces who found the bodies of the victims in their 30s, there were signs of tortures before being executed. Because of the assaults from the junta forces in the area including heavy artillery and airstrikes, the local residents were forced to flee their homes. Although junta forces stationed in Pyin Taw-U Village on 3 April and withdrew on 6 April, according to the reports, the displaced residents are mostly unwilling to resettle in the village due to lingering threats to their security.


Killing the captured resistance fighters


News reported that six members of Wetlet defence team were shot and killed by the junta forces after being captured in the fight on 4 April 2023. According to Nay Myo Aung, the leader of the Wetlet Township People’s Defence Team, the resistance groups fought a junta column of around 100 soldiers between the villages of Saing Naing Lay and Bone Bweit for the release of five villagers from the nearby community of Yin Taw Village who had been taken hostage by the military. Among the six victims, Aung Naing, 36; Kyi Khine, 45; Ye Min Htay, 24; and Lin Aung, 37, were all members of a local village defence team whereas Thurein Htet, 25, and Yan Naing Soe, 18 were two members of the GZ Special Task Force-Wetlet. According to the GZ Special Task Force leader, the six victims were shot in the legs when they were captured, and there were signs of torture on their dead bodies, including the fingernails being removed.


Airstrikes, heavy artillery, and other targeting of civilian areas


News reported that in the evening of 31 March 2023, junta forces bombed U La Ba Pagoda between Wae Gyi and In Daung Villages in Tigyaing Township, Sagaing Region, where the internally displaced people were located. Due to the aerial attacks by the junta forces using fighter planes, six locals were killed and five injured. Four of the deceased were villagers from Wae Gyi Village, namely Soe Naing, Nyo Nwet, Aung Paing, and Mar Lar Moe whereas the other two were not identified at the time of reporting.


On 2 April 2023, it was reported that a serious clash broke out between the anti-junta Tigyaing People’s Defence Force and 200 Myanmar army soldiers near Yadana Aung and Me Zar Lay Villages. After the Htigyaing PDF had withdrawn in the afternoon, a military jet reportedly bombed the area twice and the junta’s ground troops went on to burn the two nearby villages: Me Zar Lay and Yadana Aung. According to a local resident, two-thirds of Me Zar Lay and Yadana Aung have been destroyed.


On 3 April 2023, the junta’s No. 257 Infantry Battalion reportedly fired heavy weaponry indiscriminately at the southern ward of Thar Si Village in Yesagyo Township, Magway Region. Due to this attack, a local named Nay Zaw Phyo was killed by artillery shrapnel, and seven others were injured.


According to news, on 5 April 2023, during a clash broke out between junta forces and People’s Defence Forces near Than Bo Village in Naungkhio Township, Shan State, an artillery shell fired by junta forces exploded on a house in the village. This explosion killed eleven-month-old Sai War War Tun and his fourteen-year-old sister Nang Ma Aye while seriously injured their parents, who are being treated at Pyinoolwin Hospital.


It was reported that on 5 April 2023, the junta air force bombed Hti Kaw Htaw Village in Myawaddy Township, Karen State. According to a member of the resistance allied groups, the junta aircraft bombed the area shortly after the KNLA and allied anti-junta forces attacked and seized two outposts held by a Border Guard Force under military command near Hti Kaw Htaw. Hti Kaw Htaw Village is located within the territory of Brigade 7 of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), close to the command centre of the Karen National Union (KNU) and six miles from the Shwe Kokko new city development project outside Myawaddy. According to a local resident, junta airstrikes had forced residents of Hti Kaw Htaw Village and nearby areas to flee to Thaungyin (Moei) River along the Thai-Myanmar border. It was also reported that serious fighting occurred on the same day in other village tracts of Myawaddy Township, such as Me Ka Nei and Thin Gan Nyi Naung Villages as well as in Kawkareik Township, to the west. Soldiers of Light Infantry Division 44, based south of Myawaddy in the town of Lay Kay Kaw, shelled the surrounding area using heavy artillery. As a result of junta’s bombing on Me Ka Nei Village between 3 to 5 April, around 1,000 local residents were forced to seek refuge near the Thai border.


Charges against the anti-military activists


All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) announced that on 30 March 2023, the Mayangone Township court handed a three-year prison sentence under incitement charges to Su Thon Paing, a member of the Mayangone Student Union. Su Thon Paing is an eighteen-year-old high school student who was arrested by the junta forces in October 2022.


According to AAPP and Democratic Voice of Burma, on 30 March 2023, the Myitkyina District Court sentenced Thet Htar Hnaung under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law to an additional 11 years in prison. Thet Htar Hnaung is a member of the National League for Democracy (NLD). She was elected to represent Mohnyin Township in the Kachin State Hluttaw in the 2020 elections. The junta forces arrested Thet Htar Hnaung at her home in Namah town, Kachin State on 4 August 2021 and charged her for her alleged involvement in founding the Committee Representing Kachin State Hluttaw (CRKH). On 26 May 2022, she was sentenced one-year imprisonment under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code for incitement.


News reported that on 3 April 2023, the Indaw Town Military Tribunal sentenced a CDM teacher Thein Hla, and two vendors Khin Pyae Pyae Htun and Aye Aye to life imprisonment under Section 50(j) of the Counter-Terrorism Law and under Section 52(a) of the same Law. The three women were arrested by the junta forces in their houses in Indaw Township on 5 March 2023. According to the information officer of Indaw Revolution, a local defence team, they were arrested because their names appeared on a list of donors seized by the military from two captured members of a local defence team.


According to news, on 5 April 2023, the Monywa District Prison Court sentenced Monywa strike leader Wai Moe Naing to serve a total of thirty-four years of prison. This prison term includes three years in prison under Penal Code Section 505(a), three years in prison under Penal Code Section 148, twenty years in prison under Penal Code Section 395, seven years in prison under Penal Code Section 397, and one year in prison under Penal Code Section 323. Those sections of the Penal Code are for robbery, rioting, carrying a deadly weapon in a crowd, inflicting pain on another and incitement to mutiny. Due to the court’s decision to have him serve the sentences concurrently, he will serve 20 years in prison. Since Wai Moe Naing had already been sentenced to 12 years in prison earlier, in total, he will now have to serve a total of 32 years in prison. It was also reported that he is still facing two other charges for the alleged killing of a police officer and for sedition.


It was reported that on 7 April 2023, a Myitkyina Prison court sentenced former Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) chairperson Hkalam Samson to a total of six years in prison. According to Daung Nan, Samson’s lawyer, the court gave him two years under Section 17(1), one year under Section 505(a) and three years for Section 52(a). Samson was convicted of violating the Unlawful Associations Act and the Counter-Terrorism Law for allegedly meeting with the leaders of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and the National Unity Government (NUG) in Laiza, Kachin State. Samson was also convicted of violating the penal code for a speech he gave in 2022 that allegedly defamed the state.


Activities of the National Unity Government


On 3 April 2023, the National Unity Government (NUG) issued Weekly Newsletter No.14/2023, containing articles related to the NUG’s activities. Those articles included remarks by the NUG’s Acting President during the event commemorating the 2nd anniversary of the Federal Democracy Charter (FDC), NUG welcoming the United States’ sanction against the terrorist junta, statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun at the General Debate of the United Nations Conference at the Mid-term Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Decade for Action held on 23 March 2023, the announcement by the Ministry of Defence on 30 March 2023, and the joint announcement by the NUG’s Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration and the Interim Chin National Consultative Council (ICNCC).


On 4 April 2023, the Central Committee for Counter-Terrorism has issued the announcement no. (01/2023), declaring the Union Election Commission (UEC) under the terrorist junta as a terrorist group. In the announcement, it explained that the UEC has well cooperated with the terrorist junta in its atrocities by issuing illegal rules and regulations targeting the political parties who were working for the Myanmar’s democracy, by making efforts to continue the 2008 Constitution on which the public has been against, by creating opportunities for a number of pro-junta political parties to illegally get the supports.


On 5 April 2023, the Ministry of Human Rights released a statement on the consensus resolution of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. While explaining and commenting on the content of the new resolution, it underlined the situation where Human Rights Council Members could not agree on stronger language to block the export, sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment including dual-use items to the criminal junta. It was also concluded that Myanmar, as represented by the National Unity Government, supports the Human Rights Council’s extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar and accepts the call for an OHCHR country office to be opened.

On 7 April 2023, the National Unity Government published a press release regarding the arrest of three members of the resistance forces by Thai authorities and transferring them to the terrorist military group on 31 March 2023. It stressed that such action threatens the life and safety of Myanmar citizens who have been displaced and sought a refuge in Thailand due to various reasons, including oppressive and atrocious acts of the terrorist Military Council.

Actions and Remarks by the International Community in response to the Military Coup d’état


On 3 April 2023, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released an Emergency Overview Map for Myanmar South East region including a number of people displaced in South East since Feb 2021 and remain displaced. According to the overview map, in the South-East, the number of IDPs increased from 429,800 last week to 437,200 this week; in Bago Region (East), 3,200 IDPs from five villages in Kyaukkyi and Shwegyin Townships were verified in Kyaukkyi, Shwegyin, and Nyaunglebin Townships following displacement due to the shelling and heightened tensions between armed groups; about 90 IDPs returned to their village of origin in Shwegyin Township thereafter; in Kayah State, intensified fighting, airstrikes and shelling displaced 3,100 people from at least eight villages within Demoso and Hpruso Townships. It stated that among those being displaced within Demoso and Hpruso, 2,000 were secondarily displaced. It also explained that in Kayin State, 1,500 IDPs from at least seven villages in Hpapun, Kawkareik, and Myawaddy were verified in Hpapun and Kawkareik Townships following intensified fighting and clashes near their villages; in Mon State, 1,300 people from Kyaikto Township were displaced within the township due to intensified fighting happening near their village. In Shan State (South), 450 people from Pekon Township were displaced within the township, following fighting at the border area between Pekon and Pinlaung. Nevertheless, 70 IDPs returned to Loikaw town. It also informed that in Tanintharyi Region, 320 individuals were displaced within Dawei Township as they were concerned with the increased military activities in the mountains near their villages.


On 5 April 2023, at a press conference on Indonesia’s ASEAN Chairmanship in Jakarta, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that ASEAN chair Indonesia had been engaging with stakeholders to resolve the crisis in fellow member state Myanmar. However, the stakeholders that Indonesia has been talking with were not specified. Indonesia also announced that it had been making some progress in relation to the aid provision by the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA Center), which is also mentioned in the five-point consensus. She also pointed out that the meetings with the UN Security Council and the special envoys clearly showed “strong support” for Indonesia’s chairmanship, ASEAN centrality, and the five-point consensus.


On 6 April 2023, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 28. In its highlights and key messages, it informed that heavy fighting continues in many parts of the country, generating new humanitarian needs and further restricting the movement of goods and people and conflict and other threats to the safety of civilians have intensified, particularly in the country’s Northwest which is now hosting the almost a million displaced people. It stated that, as of 27 March, almost 1.8 million people remain displaced across the country, among which more than 1.4 people have been internally displaced by conflict and insecurity since February 2021. It underlined that concerns persist over moves to close displacement camps in many parts of the country while many IDPs remain worried about safety and livelihoods opportunities in their places of origin. It stressed that humanitarian operations continue to be hampered by a range of physical and administrative obstacles. It estimated that, in 2023, 17.6 million people - nearly one third of the population - are estimated to be in humanitarian need and in 2023, the humanitarian community has prioritized support for 4.5 million people with severe needs predominantly in conflict affected rural areas. However, it said that at a quarter of the way into the year, the US$764m Humanitarian Response Plan is only 8 per cent funded.


On 7 April 2023, the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) published Myanmar Humanitarian Situation Report No. 2: March 2023. In the report, it stated that the humanitarian and human rights situation in Myanmar remains volatile in the first quarter of 2023, with continuing displacement in the north- west and south-east. It highlighted that the number of people displaced nationally reached 1,766,600. In Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states displaced people were instructed to return to their place of origins by the end of March, but with limited information on safe return or assistance.



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Date: 09 April 2023

Permanent Mission of Myanmar to the United Nations, New York


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