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

October 16, 2023

HURFOM, Second Week of October

Over the last week, a devastating airstrike claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, including women and children in Kachin State. The Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) condemned the attack on civilians, including women and children, who were sheltering in an IDP camp when the attacks were launched. The violence against our communities must end. HURFOM amplified our calls for justice for the victims of this harrowing assault.

Even amid these atrocities, the international community, including the United Nations, has refused to name the perpetrator of the air and ground strikes perpetrated by the Burma Army. It is deeply unfortunate that despite the many opportunities to stand with the people, global actors engage with a terrorist regime responsible for the deaths of innocent villagers who have only wanted to live in peace for decades.

During the second week of October, the junta took even more steps to increase their control and surveillance over the people. According to local residents, on 1 October, the Township General Administration Department issued a local order to prevent two men from riding one motorcycle together in Paung Township, Mon State. The order for motorcycle passengers was issued after at least four people, including the junta policemen, intelligence, informants, and a former militiaman, were shot in Paung Township in September. According to the new law, two men cannot ride on one motorcycle.

The order also stipulates that a man is not allowed to ride on the back of a motorbike driven by a woman. Still, a woman can ride on a motorcycle driven by a man, and two women can ride a motorcycle together.

“Since the beginning of the month, they have been shouting with loudspeakers in the neighborhoods and villages. It was announced that if two men ride a motorcycle together, action will be taken. It has become difficult for everyone,” said a resident of Paung.

Due to the restrictions, the livelihoods of taxi drivers, rubber farmers, and the locals who ride motorcycles together and go to work for the day are affected.

“Working as a driver is no longer sustainable. People do not rent very often. It’s difficult for families to make a living because we cannot take men as passengers,” said a motorcycle taxi driver.

Those who fail to comply with the outrageous order are often arbitrarily arrested questioned and shot if they don’t stop their motorbike by the military. Since the coup in Mon State, a local order was issued to prevent two men from riding a motorcycle together in Ye, Kyeik Hto, and Bilin Townships, and now Paung Township is also included.

Meanwhile, the arbitrary attacks are ongoing.  At least ten people have been charged under the Anti-Terrorist Act of the locals arrested by the military Junta from Oak Ta Tar village in Paung Township, Mon State. On September 3, after police officer Ko Ko Lwin was shot and killed at the Paung Police station, the junta arrested more than twenty Oak Ta Tar village residents accused of communicating with the People’s Defense Forces.

After nearly a month of interrogating those arrested, ten people were arrested and charged under Article 50(j) of the Anti-Terrorist Act, 52(a). The military opened each case. According to local residents of Paung, nearly 30 local people were arrested by the junta forces for various reasons in September, and some of them are missing without contact with their families.

It was announced on October 3 by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) that 820 people were arrested since 1 February in Mon State.


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