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

February 20, 2023

Third Week of February 2023

The year 2023 has continued to be marked with violence against the people in Burma. In Mon State, Karen State, and Tanintharyi region, civilians are relentlessly being attacked by artillery shells and the bullets of the junta’s indiscriminate firing. Destruction of property, including the burning of villages, is ongoing. Thousands more are being forced to flee their homes daily as military impunity, and a lack of international action only encourage the junta to commit more atrocity crimes.

People in Karen State, in particular, have been harshly impacted. Armed opposition to the junta has been fierce, and the Burma Army has encountered significant losses. In response, they have retaliated and targeted civilian areas.

On 9 February 2023, a local church was destroyed by the Burmese military airstrikes in Dooplaya District, Karen State, in areas controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU). Between February 3 and 16, the junta forces fired artillery mortars more than twenty times into four different village tracts in Kawkareik Township and southern Kyainnseikyi Township. As a result, 22 homes in three villages were obliterated, and at least six people were injured.

On the evening of February 14, around 11 PM, three fighter jets of the junta struck Lu Thaw of KNU’s Brigade 5 Administrative areas. Eight bombs were fired into Debuno village, striking six houses. The next day, three more junta-backed fighter jets flew from Lu Thaw, and another six bombs were fired into Pedae Kae Village. The attack destroyed a primary school, including seven public buildings, six houses, and three local shops. Other livestock and farm tools such as tractors, motorcycles and rice mills were also ruined. In total, more than 3 million Thai Baht (approximately 87,099.15 USD) worth of damages was incurred in losses.

In Ye Township, Mon State, on February 11 at 5 PM, Mon State, La Mine Town, locals said indiscriminate shells fired by the junta killed a Novice and injured a monk from Ro-Hpo-Gaw Monastery. The shots were confirmed to have been fired by Junta’s Artillery Regiment No. 317. This battalion operates under Military Operation Management Command No. 19. An estimated seven shells exploded in the vicinity of the monastery.

On 13 February, Buddhist monks were again targeted.  The Infantry Battalion No. 9 based in Thaton, Mon State, fired indiscriminately, causing an explosion in a Buddhist monastery. It seriously injured an 11-year-old Novice and two monks, aged 56 and 45.

Meanwhile, the declaration of Martial Law in townships. On 17 February, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland, released our latest briefer, “We Cannot Move Freely:” The Impacts of Martial Law on Civilians in Southeastern Burma, which details and chronicles how the junta has unjustly enforced Martial Law.

Innocent civilians in HURFOM-targeted areas are being targeted as the junta continues to commit these crimes with impunity. The international community must respond with consequences that hold them accountable. HURFOM calls for sanctioning aviation fuel and sources of military revenue to be cut off and for aid to reach those in need. Donors must adopt more informed policies in accordance with the local situation and work with local organizations to ensure cross-border assistance reaches the most vulnerable.


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