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

March 13, 2023

Second Week of March 2023

HURFOM: International Women’s Day was marked on 8 March 2023. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) called for an end to military impunity, and condemned the junta’s ongoing crimes of gendered violence. Since the failed coup on 1 February 2021, HURFOM has documented the murders of over 65 women, 190 injuries and 700 arbitrary arrests. In addition, out of 125 total enforced disappearances since the coup in Southeastern Burma, 30 have been women in HURFOM target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region.

Gendered violence persists across the country. Women face ongoing risks as the military junta increases its presence, particularly in areas like Karen State, where opposition to the Burma Army has been fierce and unrelenting. Gendered violence is both targeted and indiscriminate. At the beginning of the year, on 1 January 2023, the junta forces patrolling a local area in Mon State shot two young women riding a motorcycle in the back. The two victims were both severely injured.

Over the last week, particularly during the commemoration of International Women’s Day, the junta continued to arrest and oppress women arbitrarily, according to the information reported by the field workers. Up to March 8, the junta council in Tanintharyi town was abducting and arresting civilians. Those detained are being prosecuted and charged under the Penal Code and for ‘terrorist offences.’ According to their families, seven women have been indicted so far.  On 7 March, the military and junta-backed General Administration Department abducted four more women from Tanintharyi.

They were accused of financially supporting the resistance movements, including accusations of inciting violence: “The arrested women are business owners. Some are ordinary civilians.  Everyone knows they’re innocent,” said a local villager.

Indiscriminate firing is also ongoing. On 5 March, in the early evening, junta forces from Light Infantry Battalion No. 273 shot at a civilian truck returning from a football match, wounding six and arresting some of the villagers in Dawei District. Residents who witnessed the shooting said about 30 armed soldiers, including the junta forces, were conducting secret operations and hiding in the rubber plantation along the highway. They started opening fire without stopping or seeing the truck. However, the regime claimed that the driver refused to stop the car, so they shot them.

The wounded villagers were originally from Mayanchaung village, Yebyu, Dawei. They are Zaw Win, age 39, Tun Naing, age 38, Thiha Zaw Aung, age 29, Yan Kyaw, age 27, Than Naing Oo, age 33; and Thura, age 28.

Meanwhile, according to the sources close to the prison, the political prisoners in Kyaikmayaw Prison have been brutally oppressed and continue to endure harsh prison conditions. In some cases, the junta’s prison authorities threatened to shoot, beat, and transfer them.

All the political prisoners in Kyaikmayaw Prison, Mon State, are activists who opposed the coup and related movements. The living conditions are even worse than convicted criminals. The prison staff beat political prisoners who complained about the tightened food budgets, policy decisions and inadequate facilities.  At least 50 to 70 were transferred to Thaton Mon State.

HURFOM condemns the ongoing violence. In our report also released last week, “We Dare Not Return,” our findings concluded that all of the crimes committed in Southeastern Burma by the junta have taken place without accountability or justice for the victims.


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