November 2023: Monthly Overview of the Human Rights Situation

December 1, 2023

Children Heavily Targeted by Military Junta During Targeted Attacks Against Civilians in Southeastern Burma 

Human Rights Foundation of Monland

Now, perhaps more than ever since the failed coup, it has become abundantly clear that the military junta is losing the war it started. Widespread opposition to the regime’s hostilities and attempted power-grab has resulted in military defections and a growing armed presence along the country’s borders. On October 27, 2023, the Northern Three Brotherhood Alliance started the 1027 military operation in Northern Shan State.  The military junta has lost many of their bases as a result.

The 1027 operation is also impacting Southern Burma, with the military junta tightening security more than usual in the Mon and Tenasserim areas, reported one resident. Combined groups consisting of soldiers, police members and security forces in civilian clothes are aggressively interrogating people at both entry and exit checkpoints to Mawlamyine in Mon State.

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“I don’t know why soldiers, police members and guards in civilian clothes have to interrogate us so much. They are stopping both cars and motorbikes. There was a lot of traffic at that place,” said a driver from Ye Township.

In the wake of other heavy battles, the junta had not responded with such tight security measures.  Locals have remarked that since the 1027 operation, the junta has been very serious.

“There were armed clashes before, but the security wasn’t tightened like this. I think the Mon areas have tightened security due to escalating armed clashes in Shan State and Sagaing Division,” said a resident.

The junta has also tightened security in Myike City, Tenasserim Division, even though they have reduced some martial law measures. On November 1, 2023, the military junta announced that the curfew hours in Myeik City would be in place only for three hours per day — from midnight to 3 am. However,  security forces have installed many barricades at junction points within the city.

“The Myike City Police Station created a barricade with a vehicle and installed barricades at many junctions. Now, there is tightened security. So we have to be careful with our movement,” said a Myike resident.

The security forces have installed barricades in Kan Phyar, Shwe Hnin Se, Shwe Pyi Tan, Myo Thit Traffic Light, Ga Nan Yoke, East Thein Lan and Ka Yar Ne junctions and at the entrance of Highway Bus Station New Street in Myeik City.

Residents reported to the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) that although many barricades have been erected throughout Myeik, the junta forces are not yet conducting “stop and checks” of anyone.

As the conflict intensifies across Burma, civilians in the Southeastern part of the country also continue to face immense threats to their safety. Women and children are among the most vulnerable who have been routinely displaced. Their security is not guaranteed in IDP camps or temporary shelters as military aircraft can be heard circling above with the possibility of an attack imminent. There is trauma and widespread uncertainty as families struggle to cope amidst worsening circumstances.

Throughout November, the HURFOM fieldworkers reported that the number of deaths and injuries of civilians continued to rise. Among the most worrying was that children were among the primary victims in the regime’s war on terror. The junta has murdered at least 400 children since the failed coup as fighting intensifies nationwide.

In HURFOM target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region, children, as well as women and older people, remain incredibly vulnerable to violence as they are among the majority of those displaced.  For example, an eighth-grade student who was hit by an artillery attack in the Tanintharyi region died while receiving treatment at Myeik Hospital on November 1. The attack that caused the injury happened two weeks prior, on October 14th; without any fighting, the military junta troops stationed on Lay Thar Mountain in Tanintharyi City launched a large number of artillery weapons.

They launched an attack on Mg Pyae Day Won and a male family member from Tamok Choung village: “He was at school. It was mid-afternoon when the attack hit him while he was having lunch,” said a local man from Tamok Choung. According to the villagers, Mg Pyae Day Won was seriously injured in his belly and arm, and another male family member was injured in his cheek.

On October 16th, Artillery Battalion No.306 of the military junta based in Maw Tone in Tenasserim Township recklessly launched artillery weapons, and a 20-year-old young man named Ko Lar Phi Din, who lives near the battalion, died in the spot of the attack.

Then, on 4 November, five members of a family, including a 3-year-old child, were injured in the artillery shell explosion in ward No.1 of Kaw Ka Rate City.

In Kaw Ka Rate, which has a population of over 40,000, the unprovoked attacks at civilians by the junta, including air and ground attacks, led to more than 50 percent of the residents permanently relocating to places less likely to be targeted, including Hpa-An.

During the fighting in Kyikemayaw Township that began on November 10, the artillery fired by the junta, as well as the air attacks, caused at least 30 houses to be damaged across the seven days that followed. More than 5,000 residents at that time fled as fighting continued in Taung Kalay. During the fighting that took place on November 12th, due to an air attack by the military junta, 7-year-old Ma Hnin Thet Wai from Paw Law village and 8-year-old Ma San Yadi Oo were killed. In addition, on the night of November 16th, the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) detonated and destroyed the bridge of Chaung Hna Kwa-Atram River, which was occupied by the military junta.

Another two children were injured as a result of the explosion of the artillery weapons launched by the military junta in Mee Thway Gone village, Kyikemayaw Township, Mon State, on 16 November when fighting broke out in the evening. Opposition forces bombed the Mawlamyine Southeast Regional Command, and the Mudon-based Artillery Battalion launched artillery weapons into the Chaung Hna Kwa area, where the civilian defence forces were fighting, and the weapons struck two children.

The military junta used airstrikes to bomb Paw Law village and killed 7-year-old Ma Hnin Thet Wai and 8-year-old Ma San Yati Oo.  After that, four houses were damaged.

“The situation in our village is not good at all. People from the whole village have to evacuate to a safe place. We all have to gather in our neighbourhood in Taung Kalay. There is also a military junta camp in the east,” said a local.

Fighting near Chaung Hna Khwa village has led to roads being closed by the junta, and fearful residents from Mae Hta Ro, Taung Kalay, Kanar Lo and Kyan Taw, and at least ten other villages are trapped.

On the morning of November 10th, the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the People’s Defense Joint Force attacked the police station of Chaung Hna Khwa village and the gate of the Chaung Hna Khwa Bridge. The villagers are also apprehensive about the sudden air strikes by the military junta because the revolutionary forces have now occupied the Chaung Hna Khwa police outpost and the bridge. Children and older people can’t move to safety quickly. At about noon on November 12th, two children, aged 7 and 8 years old, were killed by an artillery weapons explosion in Paw Law Gone village in Kyaikmayaw Township.

Then, on November 13th, the military junta fired from the air. The junta’s Artillery Battalion based in Mudon was continuously firing artillery weapons from Mudon and blocking all roads, refusing to let villagers leave. 

People are being injured, and there is ongoing damage to residential houses due to the attack with artillery weapons and air strikes by the military junta.

The elderly, many of whom have been forced to live through decades of war in their lifetimes, have also been exposed to life-threatening violence as attacks on their communities show no signs of easing. The growing presence of soldiers is in response to the junta losing the war on the battlefield. Civilians are paying the ultimate cost with their lives. The military junta launching its operation in Long Lone Township burned houses and shot some villagers.

According to locals and officials of the social relief group, two civilians were killed, and one was injured due to the explosion of artillery weapons launched by the military Junta in ward No.2 of Kaw Ka Rate City, Karen State. At 10 PM on 20 November, at least four artillery weapons were fired from the 97th Infantry Battalion of the military based in Kaw Ka Rate. The artillery shells exploded on houses near Myoe Daw Oo monastery. As a result of the explosion, a 70-year-old grandfather, U Tun Yin and 15-year-old grandson, Mg Phyo Min Khat, died on the spot. His son, Ko Khat Moe Oo, was injured in his right thigh.

“Without any battle, weapons fall. When the innocent victims were killed, they were resting. The grandson was playing on the phone while the grandfather was sleeping,” said a Kaw Ka Rate resident. The surviving victim, Ko Khat Moe Oo, who was injured by the artillery weapons explosion, was taken to the public hospital of Kaw Ka Rate district for treatment.

The 97th Infantry Battalion of the military based in Kaw Ka Rate is recklessly firing artillery weapons almost every night because they are afraid that the revolutionary forces will attack their camp.

Further evidence of attacks on elderly civilians took place at the end of the month when the explosion of an artillery weapon shot by the junta forces in Kyike Hto killed an 80-year-old woman in An Ga Bo village, Kyike Hto township, Mon State. On November 24, at 9 PM,  at least four artillery weapons were launched by the military junta troops stationed outside An Ga Bo village. They fell near the home of U Phyo, an employee of the An Ga Bo palm oil farm on the village’s east side. The elderly victim suffered a fractured jaw and bullet wounds to her neck.  Grandma Daw Nyunt Yi succumbed to her injuries the next day after being treated at the Kyike Hto Township Public Hospital.

“She lived with her son and was hit by artillery weapons while sleeping at night. She was sent to the hospital the next morning. There was a curfew, so no one dared to go to the hospital immediately. The condition of the injury was terrible. She died shortly after arriving at the hospital,” said a resident of An Ga Bo.

Since the attempted coup, residents of Kyike Hto Township have had to flee their homes. They are often faced with incidents of injury and death due to the military attacking them, in addition to the fighting between the two sides.

Amidst rising levels of violence against civilians, the ‘16 Day Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence,’ which is acknowledged by many human rights groups in Burma, began on 25 November. 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.

There remain endless challenges on the ground.  Over the last three weeks, the conflict has intensified between the military junta and the revolutionary forces, which 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.

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. The tensions between the armed actors are growing as hostilities are anticipated to worsen. Several villages have been destroyed by artillery and indiscriminate firing and shelling by the military junta. As a result of the conflict, at least 3000 households, including ethnic Karen, Mon and Muslim communities, are seeking safety and refuge in neighbouring villages.

According to Comparitech, Burma is the fourth worst globally for internet censorship and is one of only six Asian countries banning VPN usage.

The lack of information available is a part of the junta’s notorious ‘4-cuts strategy’, which seeks to cut pathways to food, recruits, medical supplies and information. It has been deployed against the Karen people in the 1960s and was also in Rakhine in 2017. With little to no updates on where it is safe to go, displaced communities rely upon networks on the ground to support them with protection, food, shelter and medicine in this time of great uncertainty.

Karen State

HURFOM reported rising levels of displacement in Karen State as hostilities worsened due to the junta’s ongoing loss of military bases in the region. The Karen Peace Support Network estimates at least 700,000 have been displaced since the coup, with over 500,000 fleeing to areas controlled by the Karen National Union since 2021.

Locals and social relief organizations reported that two women, including an 85-year-old woman, were injured when artillery weapons exploded in ward No. 2 of Kawkareik Town, Karen State, on 2 November. The incident took place following fighting between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) joint forces and the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion No. 97 based in Kaw Ka Rate. During the battle between the two sides, artillery shells exploded on the house of 85-year-old grandmother Daw Nway Than in ward No. 2 of Kawkareik Town, which injured her and her 40-year-old daughter, Daw Aye Yi. Both of them were sent to Kawkareik Hospital.

Due to the fighting between the two sides, the local villagers hid inside their houses, daring not to move until later in the day when the battle began to calm down.  As the KNLA joint forces are attacking the military junta camps in Kaw Ka Rate, there is growing concern among the local people that the battle between the two sides will intensify.

Last month, on October 13th, a student was killed, and three others were injured when the artillery weapons exploded in front of the Basic Education High School in ward No. 2 of Kawkareik.

On November 10, a statement released by the KNU Thaton district indicated that two local villagers were killed and three were wounded when the military junta force launched artillery weapons into Pein Nal Tawvillage and Tone Eain Su village in Thaton township. Shells were fired in the afternoon, causing explosions.

Victims, including 73-year-old Thee Htit Nu and 46-year-old Saw Soe Win Naing from Pein Nal Taw village, were killed, and 72-year-old Yar Kaw Naw and 32-year-old Saw Thet Naing were injured.  That day, the KNU attacked Pein Nal Taw camp. As soon as the clash was over, artillery shells fell, which were assumed to have been fired by Junta troops in the village. Two people died, and two people were injured.  Due to the attack from the military junta camp, some villagers of Pein Nal Taw fled, although most were still staying in the village.

On November 9 at around 5:00 pm, 60-year-old U Phar Kalay of Tone Eain Su village was injured when two artillery weapons were fired from the 9th Infantry Battalion of the military Junta based in Thaton Township. As a result of the attack, one local house in Tone Eain Su village and two houses in Pein Nal Taw village, a total of three homes, were damaged.

On September 8, 2023, residents reported that two villagers, including a child, were injured as a result of the military Junta firing artillery weapons into Pein Nal Taw village.

Mon State

For civilians in Mon State, most communities have been relatively unaffected by the violence until very recently. The regime is destroying homes, and levels of displacement are among the highest seen in many years across the State.

More than 1,000 residents have fled their homes due to the continuous firing of artillery weapons by the military junta forces into the village of Kha Ywel, Kyaik Hto Township, Mon State. At around 11:30 pm on November 7th, a joint team of the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and People’s Defense Forces (PDF) attacked the office of the General Administration Department of Thane Zayat, Kyaik Hto Township with a drone. After the attack, Artillery Battalion No.310 of the military junta based in Thane Zayat Town recklessly launched artillery weapons into the surrounding villages, including Kha Ywel village.

“Since midnight, artillery weapons have been fired indiscriminately. There are about 50 shells they fired. They stopped shooting in the evening. No one dares to stay in the village anymore. Some are hiding in the bomb shelters. Most of them have run away,” said a resident. More than 1,000 Kha Ywel locals were forced to evacuate and hide in the jungle due to the artillery fire of the military junta.

The residents of Kha Ywel, who were frequently fired upon by the junta forces, returned to their homes at the end of September 2023 and are now fleeing again. Due to artillery weapons launched by the military junta forces after a drone attacked the general administration office of Thane Zayat, four residents of Ta Naw Gyun village, Waw City, Bago Region, were killed, and six were injured.

Some villagers who have money from Kha Ywel village, home to more than 2,000 people, permanently relocated to Thane Zayat and Kyaik Hto towns because of the artillery weapons fired by the military junta during the coup.

Kha Ywel village, which is frequently attacked with artillery weapons by the military junta, is part of the Karen National Union (KNU) Brigade (1), Thaton District, and it is also a control village of Kyaik Hto Township.

Freedom of expression laws also continue to be violated by the junta as any measure of the legitimate rule of law is not credible.  A man who took pictures in front of the Mon State government ministers’ residence and posted them online was arrested and charged.

On the morning of November 4, the man from Myain Thar Yar ward, Mawlamyine, Mon State, was arrested by the military junta, according to a local man from Myain Thar Yar ward. A person close to the detained person reported that he was arrested while sitting at a 1990 tea shop near the traditional hospital in Ngan Tay ward.

Junta police arrested the 29-year-old Ko Ko, who claimed to have taken photos and videos of the obstacles in front of the Mon State Government Ministers’ residence in Ngan Tay ward and posted them on Facebook and TikTok and charged him with (Pa) 59/2023, under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code.

“He posted it on Facebook and TikTok. It seems he was arrested because of the political propaganda text,” he said. At least 800 civilians have been arrested since the failed coup due to various accusations of the military junta, and most of them were prosecuted.

Landmines remain a severe concern to civilians. When the junta leaves a village or area they are based in, they lay landmines in community areas such as near their farms, schools, clinics and communal gathering places. At approximately 3 AM on November 7, 2023, a landmine exploded near #102 Shwe Phyu Rubber Plantation, which the Prison Department of Thaton Township, Mon State, owns.

The explosion injured a plantation worker. The victim was 50-year-old U Zaw Win, and he came to the plantation by motorbike to tap rubber trees. He suffered injuries to his hands and legs:

“There was a landmine explosion at a rubber plantation owned by the Prison Department. A plantation worker was injured. He was sent to the hospital two hours after the explosion. Luckily, he wasn’t dead,” said a local source. Residents believe the military junta planted the landmine.

Tanintharyi Region

Hardships continue to fall on communities in Southern Burma. On November 1, the junta blocked the Dawei Township’s Maung Mae Shoun – Yay Waing road sections and Zaha – Yay Waing road sections. The Burma Army declared that people are no longer allowed to travel on the roads leading to the villages of Pa Daing Chaung, Khaung Taing Pyin, Myin Ma Tud, Pa Khat Inn, Kin Gone, and Ye Waing villages in the northeast of Dawei Township, Dawei District from October 31.

“People can’t get in or out of those roads where cars can go. They said if we want to go, we must go another way,” said a resident.

There may be difficulties in transporting food and medical treatment for the local people. As one sack of raw rice already costs more than 100,000 MMK, the residents are worried that the price of rice will rise due to this road closure. Due to the fighting in October 2023, thousands of residents from villages in the northeast of Dawei fled their homes, and some houses were also burned.

Documentation from the previous month by HURFOM suggests the destruction of properties is on the rise. In October, more than forty homes were burned down in the Tanintharyi region, the highest number in five months.

Thirty-six houses in Yebyu Township, one house in Long Lone Township, nine houses in Tha Yet Chaung Township and five houses in Pu Law Township, and a total of 51 homes were burnt down.

The villages where houses were torched down are Ba Gaw Soon, Ya Laing, Mu Du, Pa Ra Dud and Lal Shaung villages in Yebyu Township, Inn Ne Twin in Long Lone Township, Wae Yit, Thane Gone and Kyauk Kha Mauk villages in Tha Yet Chaung Township and Kyal village in Pu Law Township.

“To this day, I still feel sad about losing my house. Now we have to flee,” said a woman whose house was set on fire in Yebyu Township.

In addition to these processes, trucks were burned in Dawei, Long Lone, Tha Yet Chaung and Yebyu Townships. Hundreds of houses were destroyed, motorcycles, computers, gold, money, and some valuable items such as phones and other household items were taken away, according to residents of various villages and areas.

In addition to the burning of houses, two ambulances were also set on fire by the military junta in Zayat Sate village, Pu Law Township. As the military junta troops recklessly launched artillery weapons, explosions hit homes and religious buildings in the Min Yet village in Long Lone Township. On the other side, the revolutionary forces also burned down a two-story house, one car, and one motorcycle belonging to a member of Pyu Saw Htee from Kyun Su Township.

This is only the information collected as far as possible; there can be more on the ground.

The military junta force burnt down 42 homes last September and 18 houses in August in the Tanintharyi region.

On November 8, 2023, more than 50 military junta forces entered Ta Bok Sate village through the forest road from Kyauk Sin village and captured two villagers. They were camped at Pyin Kyi village monastery, then, on the morning of November 9, they attacked with artillery weapons and arrived at Kayin Kyi village.

“When the military junta forces entered the village, they also brought one villager who had been arrested. They had about an hour of clashing with PDF. After the clash, they started burning down the house. We still don’t know how many houses were burned,” said a resident of Kayin Kyi village who fled the war.

According to residents, the military junta forces shot and killed a villager in the village during the clash between the two sides, but the Mon forum could not confirm this. After the military junta forces camped in Kayin Kyi village, on the morning of November 10, they again entered Kan Pa Ne village, and the residents were forced to flee to safety.

“There is a villager from Kayin Kyi village who was arrested. Then they arrested a Kan Pa Ne villager and asked them to show them the houses. We still don’t know how many houses were burned, and the two who were arrested have not been released yet.” A Kan Pa Ne resident said.

In addition, on November 12, the troops in Kan Pa Ne village marched to Pa Nyit village and set fire to houses again.

“There are more than 40 military junta soldiers. Looking from a distance, I guessed that four houses were burned down. In the village, only the elderly and children remain. I’m worried about them, too,” said a fleeing villager.

From November 8, the military Junta launched its operation in Ta Bok Sate, Pyin Kyi, Kayin Kyi, and Kan Pa Ne villages, burned down houses, and arrested some villagers. At present, there are many difficulties with food and accommodation for the people who are fleeing the war, according to the people who are helping refugees.

On the evening of November 12th, they continued to operate in the coastal village of Pa Nyit and set fire to the houses again, according to residents. The military junta that came into Pa Nyit village also set fire to some homes on the morning of November 13th, and there were at least seven homes burnt in total.

“When the regiment entered, all the villagers ran to nearby places. Even if houses were burned, we could only guess from a distance which house it was by looking at the smoke,” said a resident fleeing the war. On November 14th, on the other side, the regiment is leaving from Pa Nyi village towards Long Lone town, and about 30 military junta troops from Long Lone town are providing security for the regiment coming from Pa Nyit side.

In March this year, the military junta burned more than ten houses in Ka Yin Gyi, Kan Pa Ne and Pa Nyit villages in Long Lone Township. Similarly, in March, at least 170 homes in Nyaw Pyin, Oak Kyauk Wat and Tha Pyay Shaung villages were burned down by the military junta.

On November 18, around 3:00 pm, the military junta forces that came to clear the area to Mu Du village in the Dawei Special Economic Zone area of Yebyu Township were ambushed and attacked, according to residents.

The next day the junta returned to retaliate and stationed themselves at Muu Duu village school until the evening arrested about 20 local people and torched some houses in the village. According to the locals, those arrested were released to a family in the afternoon.

“On that day, the military set fire to the houses in the village starting at 9:00 in the morning. The smoke didn’t stop until the sun went down,” said a local man.

The residents of the nearby village estimated that the number of houses could be significant due to the extensive fire area. Details of the number of homes burned are not yet known. Last month, after burning the houses, the military also wrote threatening letters on the walls of the homes saying, “Next time, the whole village will be burned to ash.”

Thousands of residents of Mu Du village were forced to flee their homes due to the arrival of the military Junta.

On 20 October, 19 houses were burned in Mu Du village. According to the census of Muu Duu in 2014, the village had nearly 500 households, and most of the residents fled before the military arrived.


The Human Rights Foundation of Monland immediately calls for the following:

  1. A referral of the situation on the ground in Burma is to be made immediately by the United Nations Security Council to the International Criminal Court.
  2. Concerted and coordinated action by global actors for an urgently mandated international arms embargo that would prevent the free flow of weapons into the hands of the murderous junta.
  3. Aviation fuel sanctions to put an effective end to the airstrikes in Burma, which have contributed to significant loss of life, particularly among innocent civilians.
  4. Targeted sanctions on military junta officials and their families and holds on their financial assets and possessions undercut their ability to conduct corrupt business dealings abroad.
  5. Strengthened and renewed protection mechanisms grant civilians who are vulnerable and at risk of assault a position where they can access justice referral and accountability pathways.
  6. Renewed and continued funding support for local organizations responding to the needs of their communities on the ground. Crossborder aid pathways must be accessed, and all humanitarian aid must be in the hands of local actors.
  7. Foreign investors in Burma must immediately cease their operations and withdraw their involvement from all development projects in the country, including but not limited to airports, seaports, and cement businesses.
  8. An abrupt and immediate halt to the use of torture by the military junta, and further, we call for investigations to probe the unlawful deaths of civilians in Burma who have been tortured to death, as well as those who have been forced to endure trauma and long-term injuries as a result.


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