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

May 22, 2023

HURFOM | May Week Three

Airstrikes and mortar shelling continue to threaten the stability of local people in Burma. The indiscriminate attacks by the military junta are relentless, even amidst emergency response efforts for those injured in Cyclone Mocha, which has devastated parts of the country. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) remains deeply concerned at the escalation of assaults, especially those which have targeted civilian homes and infrastructure.

After sudden airstrikes on May 15, around 10 am, the residents reported that the military surveillance helicopters again flew around the Nabu Lae area to scout and make threats in Yehyu Township on the morning of May 14, 2023. One villager who witnessed the airstrikes from his hiding place said that the junta’s helicopter flew about 200 feet with machine guns and was ready to shoot anything.:

“I could hear the plane flying around. I can see even the guns they’re aiming at from below. They’re flying low and scanning for any potential movement on the ground. They are ready to shoot when seeing people. I didn’t dare to come out of my hiding place; everyone was afraid,” said a 40-year-old local man about what he saw.

At midnight on May 14 and early hours of May 15, armed clashes occurred between the Junta’s troops and the Local People’s Defense Forces (PDF) around Nabu Lae. After that, a helicopter flew into areas and made threats, reported residents. Villagers said that the junta attacks could occur anywhere the fighting was going.

Currently, the villages in the Nabu Lae area are being precisely controlled and patrolled by the joint forces of Infantry Battalion No. 404, 405, and 406, which have hundreds of troops on the ground, and it was reported that the local people have been arrested as human shields. HURFOM continues to collect and record the lists of arrests of human shields, and it was initially known that some villagers of Nabu Lae are involved.

Meanwhile, the junta continues targeting people they suspect of supporting the revolutionary movement in Mon and Karen States. According to the locals, the military council sealed off the houses and properties of those accused of disseminating and supporting the People’s Defense Forces in Karen State and Mon State and issued arrest warrants for the alleged ‘fugitives.’

Between 10 to 14 May, in Myawaddy and Kyaik Hto, the military troops sealed off the properties of five civilians and confiscated their homes due to the above unjust accusations.

Then, between May 12 and 14, two local people from Kyaik Hto, Mon state, were arrested and charged with the anti-terrorism act. Their homes and shops were seized.

According to information received on May 10, the township-level General Administration Department, military officers and police forces confiscated the home and shop of Htet Ukka Lin north of Kyaik Hto. The road where his house is located remains blocked. The second individual arrested, Nay Lin Hteik, had his grocery store in Sit Taung village raided on the same day. According to HURFOM’s previous data, there have been eight cases of seized assets in Myawaddy and fourteen cases in Thaton District, including Kyaik Hto in Mon State.

In the Tanintharyi region, local sources reported that junta security forces increased in Dawei. The city entrance and exit are more stringent, and suspects have been arrested on various charges. The sources close to the victims confirmed that about eight people, including local women, were arrested in one night on May 17. These incidents indicate the military’s thriving impunity which will continue to go unchecked unless there is urgent intervention.


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