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

August 14, 2023

HURFOM | August Week Two

Among the many worrying circumstances in Burma that have worsened since the attempted coup, the security of civilians’ livelihoods remains at high-risk. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) continues to hear testimonies from survivors of attacks on their homes and families. The situation remains volatile as pathways for justice and accountability are extremely limited. The military is trying to create an illusion of normalcy in the country, but the people on the ground know all too well the horrors occurring. Their calls for accountability and justice are steadfast and must be listened to.

Dozens of residents are being routinely abducted and violently interrogated. People of Ya Nge village, Thayat Chaung Township, Dawei, who have been fleeing from the fighting for the past two months, were beaten and arrested by the military soldiers when they returned home and took items they needed to continue surviving in the jungle.

At noon on 8 August, three local men and two women returned to their homes to retrieve essential items. When they were leaving, they were spotted by patrolling soldiers who tortured them. The women were released, but the men were abducted in the village where the junta troops were camped at Mywe Mountain.

“It is like sneaking back into our own houses. We don’t want things like that to happen anymore. We are frustrated,” said a Ya Nge villager fleeing war. The villagers caught by the junta troops are expected to face harsh sentences by the junta.  In addition to arresting people, the military seized the motorbikes of locals and took them to the 403rd Light Infantry Battalion based in Thayat Chaung by car.

Motorcycles, phones, refrigerators, clothing, fans, and other accessories were forcibly taken by Light Infantry Battalion No.403 near Ya Nge village. The items are allegedly being sold like ‘shopping center items’ since July 2023, according to those witnessing people coming from the military base.

An additional concern is the ongoing arbitrary arrests of those suspected by the Burma Army of affiliations to the resistance groups. A resident of Theinzayat was arrested this past week and charged with alleged connections to the People’s Defense Forces.

Ko San Tun Oo, a resident of Ward No. 3, Theinzayat town, Kyaik Hto township, Mon State, was abducted and beaten on accusations that he was involved in the bomb attack in Theinzayat last July.

After that, the military issued Articles 50(I) and 52(A) of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which can punish Ko San Tun Oo with life imprisonment. The case has been opened at the police station in Mon State.

“That young man works at the car wash shop. He is not related to any organization. They allegedly arrested him when they could not find the real culprit of the bomb attack,” said a local of Theinzayat.

Ko San Tun Oo was allegedly targeted for sharing the activities of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defense Force (PDF) on the social network Facebook, which was discovered on his phone.

In the two-and-a-half-years since the failed coup in Burma, nearly 20,000 people have been arrested, and more than 7,000 have been sentenced to prison terms, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) announced on August 9.


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