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

October 11, 2022

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.

Over the last week the number of civilians forced to flee conflict in Southeastern Burma yet again increased. In addition to the ongoing human rights violations being perpetrated by the military junta who are systematically violating the rights of innocent civilians. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) condemns these mounting attacks which have continued to plunge civilians into uncertainty.

On 2 October 2022, the junta forces of Light Infantry Battalion 31 and the Mon State Defense Force (South) (MSDF-S) engaged in an armed clash in Khaw Zar Town, Ye Township, Mon State. Two soldiers died as a result of the fighting. Soon after, the armed clash, the military fired two bombs into a nearby village on the outskirts of Khaw Zar Town. Their purpose was to frighten residents.Then the military issued an order banning locals from going to their plantations: “We were all scared. No one dares to go outside,” said a local woman. After the first explosion some villagers who had gone to their plantations returned home, but not all of them: “Our plantation is very far away from Khaw Zar but we clearly heard the bomb blast. Some villagers feared returning to their villages.” The ban started on October 5 for an unknown period of time. Earlier this month, on September 1st, there were more attacks in Ye Township.

Arbitrary arrests of civilians, particularly those suspected of having ties with the Civil Disobedience Movement, are ongoing in HURFOM target areas. On 7 October at around 10:30 AM, Ma Tharaphu, age 22, was abducted by the joint forces of junta military intelligence forces and pro-junta militia troops after a preliminary investigation, a local witness reported. Ma Tharaphu, an ordinary villager, was arrested in Kyaukni Maw Village, Long Lon Township, Dawei District. The junta troops checked her phone and arrested her immediately. The night before on 6 October, another three young villagers were stopped and arrested when the troops checked their cell phones.

Two more young villagers were arbitrarily arrested by junta forces in Zeyarmyaing Ward, Mawlamyine, Mon State. They were accused of being associated with local People’s Defense Forces in their areas, as confirmed by the families. Mg Thein Zaw Latt, age 20, and Soe Win Htun, age 20, both from Htnin-Yu village of Thanbyuzayat Township, Mon State. “They are being detained and interrogated in Mawlamyine. I am worried about them being beaten. These boys are innocent. They’re just University students. I am sure that they have never been involved with any armed resistance groups,” said a relative.

The destruction of property by the Burma Army threatens civilian security and safety. Places that do not even pose a threat to the junta are targeted, including a Mon national primary school located in Yin Dein village, in southern Ye, Mon State which was set on fire on 6 October 2022. Local villagers suspect that the Junta forces Infantry Battalion No.31 committed the arson. Southern Mon State, including Yin Dein Village, has seen fierce fighting and bloody reprisals over the last two weeks, with local armed groups regularly clashing with junta forces in the areas: “No group targets public building such as schools or hospitals, except the junta forces who destroy buildings with impunity,” said a local villager.

Junta troops have torched hundreds of houses and buildings in neighboring Karen State and Tanintharyi region over the past few months. “Civilian homes have been raided and destroyed across the country,” 50-year-old Yin Dein villager added.

In Karen State, the military junta yet again deployed airstrikes on 5 October 2022 at midnight where three villages located 4 miles north of Three Pagodas Town near the Thai-Burma border were targeted. Due to air strikes, at least eight villagers’ houses and a Buddhist monastery were destroyed. While casualties were not immediately known, at least 500 children, women and the elderly were forcibly displaced. Calls from civil society, including HURFOM, condemned the airstrikes and called for a global arms embargo.

These ongoing abuses reinforce the urgency to respond to these atrocities which are taking place on a regular basis inside Burma. The military junta must know that they cannot continue to commit these crimes with impunity.

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