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

December 19, 2022

Third Week of December 2022

HURFOM: Over the last week, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) reported increasing cases of arbitrary arrests and abductions. The terror tactics deployed by the military junta have resulted in thousands fleeing for safety. Civilians continue to be fired at indiscriminately and lack access to protection pathways. A hijacked justice system has failed to uphold international rights and freedoms. HURFOM fieldworkers on the ground have reported a growing sense of fear and insecurity. 

Hundreds of residents who fled conflicts in their native villages in Bokpyin Township, Tanintharyi Region,  since the last week of November, have not been able to return to their homes, according to reporters in that region. Families are suffering from food shortages. A HURFOM reporter said that between December 4 and 10, the junta forcibly relocated another 400 local villagers living in Yadanap (Mining) village to the Myanmar-Thailand border. Now the number of people is about 700, including children and the elderly, who face risks to their survival as they cannot access medicine and nutritional food.

HURFOM also reported on the rising challenges facing people with disabilities who struggle to find work and secure their livelihoods. Due to political instability, businesses are reducing staff and stopping work, according to those assisting people with disabilities. He added they are working in connection with vocational training institutes to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities, but it is not practical. In addition, people with disabilities who have been stopped from work face difficulties in making a living. It is improbable that the military junta will support those struggling during these times. HURFOM has reported dozens of cases of the military extorting people through ransoms and confiscating possessions. The number of disabled people increased after the military coup due to excessive landmine injuries and other conflict-related wounds.

Travel in Southeastern Burma has also become much more restricted and high-risk. Since the beginning of December 2022, the Junta Administrator of Pu Law Township, Myeik District, Tanintharyi Region, has required all passengers or travellers to show their recommendation letter (travel authorization) at checkpoints. The junta persecutes anyone who has failed to deliver the letter. A recommendation letter costs at least 5,000 Myanmar Kyat, which is exceptionally high for some families, given the financial struggles amid the ongoing political and economic crisis. Since 1 February 2021, administrators appointed by the junta has made extra money by extorting villagers.

One of the reasons so many have remained fearful in their villages is that the junta has not hesitated to fire into civilian areas if they feel provoked or are suspicious of opposition forces hiding. An innocent civilian was shot dead by Junta LIB No. 406 troops in Wagone village, Dawei; according to local sources. Ko Chit, age 35, was found with gun wounds outside the village. The incident occurred on December 11, 2022, at 8:00 PM. A local who spoke to HURFOM said a group of soldiers and their alliances’ militias arrested Ko Chit by tying his hands behind his back and then he started hearing gunshot sounds. They fled and left the body.   The deceased was just an ordinary villager and had no history of being involved or linked with armed groups. 

HURFOM condemns the ongoing violence being perpetrated against innocent civilians. The junta has advanced their attacks because they have yet to be accountable. The people cannot trust the authorities to protect them, which has only added to the anxiety that residents face daily. There must be justice for lost lives and reparations to families. This is only possible through international accountability mechanisms which demand global intervention.


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