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

November 27, 2023

HURFOM, Fourth Week of November 2023

In Southeastern Burma, violence remains targeted against civilians who are living in parts of the country where conflict is intensifying. Among the most vulnerable are women and children, who comprise the majority of those displaced, and the last week included the beginning of the ‘16 Day Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence,’ which is acknowledged by many human rights groups in Burma. During these challenging times of turmoil and uncertainty, the commitment to ending gendered violence is affirmed, and the work to spread awareness is ongoing. For example, the Karen Women’s Organization shared their theme, including a call to create a community free from violence against women.

In target areas of the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), including Mon State, Karen State and the Tanintharyi region, women and girls remain at risk of conflict-related sexual violence as the junta increases its presence in local villages. Rape has long been used as a weapon of war, but according to the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), it is still a tool regularly deployed by the regime. While women are targeted because of their assumed weakness, the reality is that women human rights defenders continue to spearhead movements for change and are relied upon by their communities. On 17 October, the WLB called upon Permanent Representatives to the United Nations before the annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security to support meaningful women’s participation.

First responders, the majority of whom are local grassroots organizations, continue to provide emergency assistance to displaced and vulnerable communities on the ground. As stated by Progressive Voice in their Weekly Highlight, the international community must coordinate humanitarian assistance through localized support channels. In reality, community-based organizations operating on the ground have the access, resources and insight that NGOs and UN-affiliated groups do not.

HURFOM is currently responding that at least 30 villages in Kyaikmayaw have been cut off from phone and internet connections, and local security news and communications have been disrupted, leaving residents worried. Concerns are rising among residents as they can no longer communicate with each other and information about their safety after the internet is immediately cut off.

Due to the artillery weapons that were launched and airstrikes by the military junta, people are fleeing. Since November 10th, the fighting between the military junta and the revolutionary forces has been fierce in the area of Chaung Hna Kwa in Kyaikmayaw Township, and thousands of residents were forced to flee their homes. Currently, the fighting between the two sides has calmed down a bit, but the military junta is systematically cutting off mobile internet lines as well as Wi-Fi internet lines.

According to local sources, on 9 November 2023, mobile phone and internet connections were cut off in most of the villages near Kyarinnseikyi City, Karen State:

“We have been unable to use the Mytel card for almost one month. MPT cards only occasionally work,” said a local Laing Ka Nee villager in Kyarinnseikyi Township.

The mobile phone and internet connections in Taung Pauk, Laing Ka Nee, Taung Dee, Kyaung Khun, Htee Pauk Lol, Win Yaw Sate Kyi, and Kha Lal – Ta Khun Taing villages are working only from 3:30 am to 11:00 am every three days.

Although the residents reported that mobile phone and internet connections had been cut off in most villages from Kyarinnseikyi to Three Pagodas Pass, the Mon Forum could not confirm it. According to HURFOM field network reporters, the junta cut off mobile networks and internet services in 42 villages in Karen and Mon territories.


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