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

July 24, 2023

HURFOM | July Third Week

The human rights situation in Southeastern Burma is worsening as the international community and regional actors, including ASEAN, fail to respond with adequate measures to hold the junta accountable for their widespread and systematic crimes against humanity. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM). The junta targets women, children, the elderly and others with artillery fire, shelling and mortars. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and an overall longing for peace and protection has once again forced civilians to bear the burden of war.

Any opposition to the dictatorship is met with violence, torture and death. According to local sources, at 9 AM on Jul 15, after the funeral service in Kaung Mu village, Dawei, eight young villagers from the Youth Association of Kaung Mu were stopped. The military inspected their phones, and two Mon youths were arrested and severely beaten. Locals said that the arrested young men, 22-year-old Nay Lin Zaw and 17-year-old Thein Htwe, were found with the three-finger salute images on their phones and were severely beaten and detained for a day at the Kanbauk Police Station:

“They checked all the phones of the eight people. Two of them were punched many times because they referred to the military as ‘dogs’ in 2021, and more photos of the three-finger pro-democracy salute were found on the Facebook Messenger app. They were beaten with a cable.

Their injuries were to the eyes, head, leg, and whole body, and they can’t even chew rice,” said a family member. The two youths were brutally tortured and received medical treatment at their homes due to face, leg, and head injuries.

Business owners also continue to be targeted, despite the worsening economy, which has had the most destructive impacts on local people. Within two days, nine grocery store owners, prominent business families, and workers were abducted in the Kanbauk area of Yebyu Township in Dawei. Between July 15th and 16th, the arrested people were the families and workers of local businesses. The security forces of the military junta came to their house and abducted them after finding explosive items.

“Since the morning of July 15, junta forces have thoroughly checked everyone at the intersection of the Thit-Taw Road. More than ten young people were detained on the side of the road and released. However, among those arrested in the last two days, the nine people reported here are accused of being in connection with explosive devices. The Mawrawaddy Navy officers came and arrested them themselves,” said a local youth.

There were two arrests. The first case was on the evening of July 15, four members of the grocery store owner’s family and two workers in Kanbauk market, Magin ward, Kanbauk area, Yebyu Township, and a total of six were arrested by junta forces of Mawrawaddy Navy.

In addition to the shameful attacks, the junta forces in Ye Township, Mon State are recruiting mercenary militias in the northern parts of the area. According to local sources, the junta forces called mercenary militias to secure their camp in Hnit Ka Yin village of Ye township, where the fighting broke out, and villagers fled their homes. In addition, the junta troops stationed in the village raided the houses and arrested local villagers. Fearing the fighting would continue with the local defence forces, three-quarters evacuated.

“The military junta is hiring merc militia for 10,000 kyats daily. Some people accept the order. Two people are ordered to patrol each farm outside the village. They were forced to wear a soldier’s uniform. Some people who have livelihood hardship are taking the order and providing security for the military junta,” said a local. Those who fled their homes went to the villages of their close relatives in Ye Township, Mawlamyine, Mudon and Thanbyuzayat, and the monasteries.


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