Weekly Overview: Human Rights Situation in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi Region

April 15, 2024

HURFOM, Second Week of April 2024

On April 4th, 2024, the United Nations Security Council held an open briefing on Burma. While the dialogue was welcomed, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) shared collective disappointment at the lack of meaningful progress in response to the urgency of the situation in Burma. While the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council recognizes the severity of the crisis, it fails to accept that international stakeholders, notably ASEAN, cannot be relied upon as drivers to end the crisis when they are constantly engaging with the junta.

The reality is that the UN body still does not exercise the accountability tools needed to ensure the junta is held criminally responsible for its ongoing attacks against civilians. In addition, world leaders must recognize that ASEAN or foreign stakeholders do not drive success and developments on the ground.
The resilience and competencies of civil society organizations, ethnic revolution organizations, and ethnic health organizations that have spearheaded the People’s Revolution must be taken seriously. ASEAN, the UN, and the international community must stand with us.
Unfortunately, the situation remains dire and underreported in HURFOM target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region. In Mon State, the regime has been reinforcing security around Mawlamyine Airport and nearby areas with a significant troop presence. On April 8, between 6 and 9 AM, a large military transport aircraft took off and landed seven times in Mawlamyine. Another cargo military aircraft also took off and landed twice during the same time frame on the morning of April 8.  Additionally, an ATR 72-600 aircraft took off from Mawlamyine Airport at around 9:48 AM and returned at approximately 10:19 AM.
These military activities are believed to be connected to a request made by the junta military headquarters in Nay Pyi Taw to the Thai Foreign Minister seeking permission to use Mae Sot Airport in Thailand for 72 hours. The request mentioned Mae Sot—Yangon flights, but another resident who lives close to the airport said Mawlamyine Airport is also being utilized. Following these movements, the military junta lost control of Myawaddy, a key border town, yet another victory for the resistance movement as bout 200 soldiers abandoned their bases with the regime surrendering. 

In addition, the military junta continues to weaponize the rule of law in Burma. Army officials in Mon State charged two individuals from Mawlamyine under Section 50(j) of the Anti-Terrorism Act. A case has been filed against a man, U Zin Min Oo, and a woman, Ma Cho Cho Khaing, for allegedly donating money to opposition groups.
On April 4, it was reported that U Zin Min Oo had been raising funds on social media to support the local People’s Defense Forces and provided financial assistance through the Kpay platform. Similarly, Ma Cho Cho Khaing is accused of donating to the resistance efforts through the Wave Pay service. The junta alleges that both individuals have been actively collecting money and donations on social media to support various pro-democracy affiliates. Their case, numbered (P) 30/2024 under Section 50(j) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, is investigated by corrupt officials who seek control.

The use of Section 50(j) of the Anti-Terrorism Act has had a significant impact on civilians since the failed coup. Many have been arrested, detained, and faced severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, for activities that the Junta deems supportive of opposition forces. This has created a climate of fear and repression, severely limiting freedom of expression and association in the Mon State.


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