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

May 27, 2024

Escalation of Conflict in Rakhine State Calls for Support of Targeted and Vulnerable Groups

No one is safe in the presence or custody of the Burma Army. As the situation worsens in Rakhine State, crimes against civilians are being committed by the military junta and Arakan Army. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) joined a statement signed by 195 civil society and revolutionary organizations to condemn and oppose any ethnic armed groups, including Rohingya armed groups, that are collaborating with the terrorist military junta and abusing the public.

HURFOM has witnessed and documented the brutality of the Burma Army in our target areas of Mon State, Karen State and the Tanintharyi region. We stand to defend all of those who have been oppressed by all military forces. Ethnic revolution organizations, in particular, have a moral obligation to protect their communities from the violence deployed by the junta. The Arakan Army is no exception.

Over the last week of the month, the junta continued to escalate its attacks against civilians. Members or supporters of any opposition group deemed a threat by the military are increasingly targeted. A member of the National League for Democracy (NLD) from Han Kan village, Ye Township, Mon State, was arrested on May 16th. The arrested individual, 53-year-old Nai Tin Sein, was apprehended at home. Local sources indicate that Nai Tin Sein was arrested for being in contact with the People’s Defense Forces. He was taken away for interrogation at the Ye Township Police Station. He is known to be a staunch NLD member and is close to the current Han Kan village administrator.

Indiscriminate violence is undermining civilian safety, especially women and children who are home in their villages. A woman was killed, and another was seriously injured when the junta fired shells from the water into Phayar Gyi village in Kawkareik Township, Karen State, on 16 May. The 38-year-old woman died on the spot, while another woman suffered severe leg injuries. The shell exploded in the Zee Kone area of Phayar Gyi village, where migrant workers reside. During the attack, two houses were damaged, and the injured woman was taken to the hospital.

In a separate incident, on May 16- 17, 2024, the 9th Light Infantry Battalion launched artillery attacks on villages in the V Yaw village tract, Thaton Township, Mon State. There were no active clashes at the time. According to a statement by the Thaton District Karen National Union (KNU), the attacks injured two villagers.

 It is reported that in the Thaton District of Mon State, where military tensions are intense, six civilians were killed, and 22 were injured due to artillery assaults by the junta troops within three weeks. Between May 1 and May 21, troops carried out regular artillery shelling in Kyaik Hto, Bilin, and Thaton. According to the KNU, three people in Bilin Township and one resident in Kyaik Hto Township were killed by artillery by the junta troops. Two others were killed in Bilin.

Enforced disappearances also remain on the rise. Junta troops abducted a husband and wife at Tha Yet Chaung market in Dawei District. The couple, identified as U Hla Sein and his wife from Kanet Thiri village, had recently moved to Kyauk Myaung village due to escalating violence in their home village. On May 16th, while they were shopping, five soldiers surrounded them and forcibly took them into custody.

Soldiers covered their faces with black bags before taking them away for interrogation.  This incident occurs amidst severe unrest in Tha Yet Chaung Township.


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