August 2022 Overview
Human Rights Violations Remain Rampant in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi Region

September 1, 2022

HURFOM: Throughout the month of August 2022, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) documented increasing attacks on civilians and human rights defenders. Many of these assaults amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Across target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region, the Burma Army has continued to commit widespread human rights violations with impunity. 

Civilians have routinely been caught in the crossfire of the junta’s offensives, which are expanding and are subsequently fueling the worsening humanitarian crisis on the ground. Children are among those targeted in a series of raids and flyover attacks by the military who are using various tools of terror to isolate and intimidate ciivlian populations. 

HURFOM is devastated by the rise in the numbers of those injured, killed, arbitrarily arrested and detained on a regular basis. In addition to the crimes being committed by the junta, civilians are also facing a multitude of other challenges including inflation. Since early August 2022, the inflation rate has risen dramatically, which has led to higher prices for essential commodities. Rice, cooking oil, chili and onions are three times their average price.

A daily worker earning 5000 Myanmar Kyat (approximately 2 USD) a day is now unable to feed  a family of more than three. The income and outcome are imbalanced. People have to struggle just to buy food. “I have to go to work on my bike rather than consider buying gasoline,” said a laborer. The fact that the military junta controls the US dollar and import market means most importers are facing huge losses. 

Some have to stop their trading, according to the Thai product importers: “We’ve been selling Thai products for a long time. We’ve never experienced a situation as  bad as this. The Thai currency has a good price while the Myanmar Kyat has no value so we have to pay three times the amount for a product. Then, our customers can’t afford it. So the products are left over at our store. It is not possible to make a profit through imports now, without suffering a loss. If the inflation rate continues to rise, we will have to close our store,” said a Thai product importer.

There is also another gasoline shortage that has occurred, which is adding additional pain to all sectors. “Not only is the price of gasoline getting higher but there is a shortage of gasoline. If we want to buy some, we have to go to the city. But we can only buy it with limitations. We can’t buy as much as we want. The situation is really bad in some rural areas,” said a local who spoke to HURFOM. As of August 11, 2022, 16.6 grams of gold priced at 2.5 million Kyat while one US dollar is equivalent to 2,750 Kyat.

The rise of junta backed pro militias across Southeastern Myanmar has become an additional area of growing concern for HURFOM. On 3 August, HURFOM released a briefing paper which documented at least 129 victims of militia violence, with 18 killed across target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region since 1 February 2021. Throughout this month, there were ongoing attacks launched by these groups including Pyusawhti, Thway Thauk and the Black Kite Brotherhood among others. 

The junta is paving pathways for destruction as the country’s prospects for democracy slowly deteriorate. Their desperate quests for power were apparent even before the attempted coup on 1 February 2021, as they sought legitimacy through various diplomatic channels while the very institution of the Tatmadaw was becoming increasingly more unpopular. Their tirade of war crimes, as well as crimes against humanity and genocide, is further evidence of the great lengths that the military junta is willing to go to invoke cruels means of control onto the people of Burma. 

And yet, a sentiment of hope, determination and adversity is still prominent throughout the country as rallying forces join together to defeat and dismantle the junta. [Download full report in PDF]


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