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

June 17, 2024

Insecurity Caused by the Military Junta Undermine Education Pathways

The impacts of the ongoing conflict in Southeastern Burma continue to devastate communities and separate families. The junta’s forcibly enacted Conscription Law has only contributed further to the worsening state of unrest and uncertainty. In target areas of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), including Mon State, Karen State, and the Tanintharyi region, local people are fearful of indiscriminate firing, including air and ground attacks, as well as landmines and the possibility of escalated tensions. In the Burma Army’s bid to lose control, they are increasingly targeting innocent people. The impacts have been consequential, including delays to student education pathways.

Schools in Kaw Bein, Kaw Pauk, and Kaw Palaing villages along the Mon-Karen Gyaing River region remain closed due to ongoing security issues. Since late March, armed clashes have led to a lack of security, preventing teachers from returning and parents from sending their children to school. As a result, many schools, including 30 government schools in the area, remain shut. Local children are attending Mon language classes at village monasteries instead. The region is still a conflict zone, and teachers are fearful. Parents are hesitant to send their children to school.

According to a resident, “Government schools in Kaw Bein, Kaw Pauk, and Kaw Palaing have not opened mainly due to security concerns. The region is still a conflict zone, so teachers are not coming, and parents are hesitant to send their children to school.”

Only about 50% of schools in the region are operational. For instance, schools in Kaw That, Kaw Swe and Tarana villages are open. Still, there is a significantly reduced attendance rate, as many students have either stopped attending or moved to schools in urban areas or even to Thailand. One teacher remarked: “Last year, we had about 1,500 students in high school; this year, there are only about 500.”

Mon National Schools in the area also remain closed due to security concerns. Additionally, around 20 military council troops have set up checkpoints, restricting movement and extorting travellers, with indiscriminate shooting occurring at night.

Since the attempted military coup in 2021, conflict-related disruptions have severely impacted education, with 6 million children nationwide needing humanitarian assistance and approximately 4 million losing access to education.

In addition, attacks on local livelihoods remain a constant threat. Villages around Kalein Aung Town in Yebyu Township in Dawei are under continuous artillery fire from the Mawrawaddy Naval Base. This relentless shelling has resulted in civilian casualties, injuries, and the burning of homes. Daily, residents are being forced to flee.

On June 7, at 9:30 PM, an artillery shell hit Mi Chaung Laung Ywa Thit, injuring Daw Than Sant, a woman in her 40s. She suffered abdominal and leg injuries but couldn’t reach a hospital until the following day due to road closures.

Earlier that day, clashes near Ya Phu village resulted in the deaths of three family members, including a child, and left two others injured. Similar attacks in late May caused civilian injuries and damaged religious, educational, and healthcare buildings in Kalein Aung.


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