Weekly Overview: Human Rights Situation in Mon State, Karen State, and Tanintharyi Region
Second Week of July, 2022

July 18, 2022

HURFOM: A weekly update by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) on the situation on the ground. Summary data includes Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region.

Analysis

The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) is observing a downward spiral of normalcy across target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region. The livelihoods of civilians are being threatened by the Burma Army whose increasing presence evokes fear and anxieties among local communities. The calls for international action have repeatedly called for targeted sanctions and accountability measures to be put in place to ensure the people of Burma have the peace that they have long craved.

Over the last week, locals from Kyaung Shar Kwin area, Yebyu Township, Tanintharyi Region told HURFOM that they had to abandon their plantations due to landmines. “A landmine exploded near my plantation. After that, I have not gone back. Another explosion can take place any time.” Between late 2019 and 2020, there have been 10 victims who suffered from landmine explosions in Yebyu Township. Five victims were from the Kyaung Shar Kwin area. Local plantation owners are frightened to go to their lands due to frequent explosions. “I’ve abandoned my plantation. I am afraid to go there. All landmine victims have been my neighbors. If I were injured, my family would be in trouble. That’s why I’ve abandoned my betel nut plantation for three years now,” said a plantation owner from Lae Sakan village.

Both ethnic armed organizations – the New Mon State Party (NMSP) and the Karen National Union (KNU) are active in this area, but no group has taken responsibility for the landmines. The Dawei District NMSP office released a statement on March 16, 2020 stating that both NMSP and KNU had responsibility for finding a solution. It is estimated that approximately 200 plantation owners work roughly 2,000-acre of land in the Kyaung Shar Kwin areas.

A rising number of destroyed religious sites has been documented by rights groups including HURFOM with dozens destroyed in our program areas. The junta, despite claiming to be Buddhist, has destroyed many monasteries, threatened, and imprisoned monks and refused to honor temples and churches as places of sanctuary, peace and relief for civilians.

On 10 July 2022, Kyauk-Hlay-Kar village in Thayet Chaung Township, Dawei was attacked and extinguished by the junta forces who killed five villagers accused of being members and supporters of the People’s Defense Force (PDF). A 45-year-old Kyauk-Hlay-Kar villager said three local people were killed when about 70 Junta troops stormed the village:”They arrested two more villagers on suspicion of being PDFs. Then they shot and killed those villagers when the military columns arrived at Yaung Maw village, Thayet Chaung. A total of five villagers were killed as many locals were fleeing the village. It was estimated about 200 families are fleeing to safer areas. Names of the victims; the exact personal accounts, and locations are being examined by HURFOM.

Arbitrary arrests and warrantless raids are also ongoing. On the night of July 9, 2022, a group of junta forces and their sponsored-armed members stormed a civilian house in Wei-Kyun-Myothit Ward, Dawei, and abducted three young men. According to local sources, it was later confirmed that one of them was shot to death. The victim was Ko Paing Paing, age 21, and the son of the Pan-Chit-Thu family, located on the Wei-Kyun-Yay road.

Meanwhile, clashes continue to displace and devastate communities. Local villagers near No. 1023 Military base of the Border Guard Force (BGF) were afraid of being investigated, arrested, or tortured by the military, as well as possible armed clashes, so they fled from their homes.

Most villagers moved to Mudon Township, Mon State: “I’ve left my house and just come back once a week to check its condition. I’m worried that the soldiers will burn down my empty house now that I’ve moved to Mudon,” said a villager.

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