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

December 18, 2023

HURFOM, Second Week of December 2023

It has been a very long year for the people of Burma, who have been forced to endure ongoing violence perpetrated against them with impunity. The delayed and inadequate reply by the international community has only made things more challenging for those regularly being impacted by the atrocities deployed against them. With so much injustice and no reliable pathways for accountability and justice, the war is only worsening. Against all odds, civilians have remained resilient at the cost of their survival. They are on the run constantly and refuse to see the junta as any measure of humanity.

In Mon State, the human rights situation, in particular, is seeing an escalation of violence.  The military is also cutting off food and water supplies to people affected by conflict, shelling displacement camps and religious sites. It has targeted displaced people attempting to harvest rice from their villages. It has deliberately destroyed food stocks and medical relief supplies.

On Human Rights Day, 10 December, at least 20 residents of Thanbyuzayat were arrested again by the military junta, according to local sources. Those captured were from the Aung Zay Ya extended ward, the six intersections, Aung Chan Thar, and around the school ward.  At least 20 civilians were arrested.

“Five people were taken from Aung Zay Ya’s extended ward. They were abducted based on allegations of supporting the resistance movement. They keep arresting people in Thanbyuzayat city,” a resident said.

On the evening of December 7th, the military junta demanded money from the people they arrested, including well-known wealthy individuals and released them, according to the residents. A week before that, on 30 November, U Mya Than, 44, of Aung Zay Ya extended ward, was arrested with a Zoraki M906-TD pistol with 39 bullets. Eleven days later, golden shop owners, construction business owners, grocery store owners, and owners of iron and youth —about 100 people were arrested.

More violence in Mon State included indiscriminate firing. According to local people, a civilian was killed, and six houses were damaged due to the military junta launching artillery weapons into Shwe Yaung Pya village, Bilin Township. The No. 314 Artillery Battalion of the military junta was attacked with a drone by the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) on December 7th at around noon.

After that attack, the Artillery Battalion launched at least twenty artillery shells from their base into Ah Won Gyi, Shwe Yaung Pya, and Pan Aung Gone villages in Bilin Township. The explosion hit, and La Aw, 46, was seen riding a motorcycle. He was immediately killed.

“About ten artillery weapons fell into Shwe Yaung Pya village that day. The villagers entered the bomb shelter immediately, but unfortunately, a villager died. The motorcycle was also damaged,” said a local.

As a result of the explosion of artillery weapons, six homes of Naw Ma Nge, Naw Tay, Naw Mee Mee, Saw Tar Kha, Saw Maung Nu, and Saw Gee were damaged, and two cows were also hit and injured.

Shwe Yaung Pya, Ah Won Gyi, and Pan Aung Gone villages, where the military junta attacked with artillery weapons, are the villages under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU) Thaton District. During the coup d’état, the locals were always fleeing.

Last November 20th, 15-year-old Saw Htet Wai Yan was killed, and 17-year-old Naw San Htwe was injured by the military junta’s artillery weapon attack in Shwe Laung Inn village in Bilin Township, according to the statement of the Karen National Union in Thaton District.


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