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

September 18, 2023

HURFOM | Week Two, September 2023

Civilians living in Southeastern Burma continue to exist with the threat of attack by the Burma Army at any time. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) is hearing ongoing reports of fear and terror as villagers ‘dare not return’ to the places they once called home. Over the last week, more human rights violations occurred, including destruction of property, torture, and indiscriminate firing. 

The military junta is targeting supporters of the resistance movement. The illegal regime has failed to grab power in their attempted coup and continues to be engaged in a senseless, unearned bid for legitimacy. 

According to residents, two local people, a husband and wife from Thein Gon ward, Thaton Town, Mon State, were arrested by the military Junta on the accusation that they were providing information to the People’s Defense Forces (PDF). On September 7, the military junta forces raided and arrested the couple, 31-year-old Ko Min Zeya Cho and 34-year-old Ma Hanni Kyaw, from Thaton.

“Ma Hanni wrote a comment under a Public Figure’s post. Junta informers found it and ordered to arrest her. The military also knew they were supporters of the National League for Democracy, so they must have been arrested under the section “discontented,” said a resident of Thaton. The couple is being interrogated.

In the military junta lobby Telegram accounts, they allege Ma Hanni Kyaw and her husband were informants of PDF to do propaganda to monitor, inform, and give information about the activities of the police and departmental staff. This is yet another tool the regime uses to try and control all of the population’s movements. 

On 7 September, the military junta again arrested three families on suspicions of them providing financial support to PDFs. Sixty-year-old U Hla Tun from Mya Thida ward and his son and brother-in-law were abducted inside the house by the military, according to a person close to the family.

“Soldiers went to Yebyu for family matters, and a group robbed their money and car of people wearing masks and holding guns. They had to return to Kanbauk by bus,” said a person close to the arrested family members.

After that, due to the 20 million Myanmar Kyat found in the stolen car, the military raided their home at night for allegedly supporting the PDF. They are currently in military custody and have not yet been released. 

The military is blocking key transportation routes in yet another act of paranoia and fear that the junta is losing the war they started. At the end of August 2023, although the military restricted and prohibited the importation of medicine, fuel, and rice from passing the gate at the end of Zawae Road entering the city, it was re-opened after about a week, according to the locals. However, now the road is closed again:

“The military has not announced how many days the gate will be closed. The news that the gate is closed is already spreading in the villages,” said a local.

The closed gate from Myeik Township to Tanintharyi Township at the Zawea Road junction gate is the main crossing point for the upper part of Burma to transport the goods. The locals are worried that the gate will be closed for a long time. Since the attempted military coup, the Zawae gate has been free to pass by the military, though frequently closed.


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