Junta soldiers continue abuses in southeast Myanmar

12 September 2023
Junta soldiers continue abuses in southeast Myanmar
Photo: The military council soldiers (old picture)

As another ASEAN summit came and passed, little progress was made on the human rights situation in Burma, according to the rights organisation, Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM).

It said that whilst ASEAN condemns the junta’s behavior, it also enables it by permitting the junta to attend meetings and trainings, including on anti-terrorism and security.

This puts innocent people's lives at risk, yet despite this regional and global entities, including the United Nations (UN), make conscious choices to stand with dictators rather than those of the pro-democracy movement, according to HURFOM.

Junta troops are also still using villagers as human shields in southeast Myanmar, the area covered by HURFOM, according to HURFOM’s sources.

Approximately 60 junta troops raided Teezip Village in Launglon Township Dawei, Tanintharyi Region and captured villagers on 26 August. They released most of the villagers but kept 10 of them to use as human shields.

“Most of them were released at night before they [the junta troops] left. We heard that the 10 villagers who were captured and taken away were only men”, said a local man.

The junta soldiers got the remaining 10 male villagers to act as human shields when they left the Teezip Village at around 1:30 p.m. on 27 August and marched to Kawt Inn Village.

Currently, many villagers who fled Teezip Village are still afraid to return home, even though the junta troops have now left the village.

On 28 August, junta troops and police officers forcibly raided the house of U Kyaw Kha, a National League for Democracy (NLD) party member, in Thiri Myaing Ward, Mawlamyine, Mon State and arrested U Kyaw Kha there.

“These days he has been constantly posting news related to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Facebook,” said a local resident.

Previously, U Kyaw Kha served as the youth affairs officer for the Mon State NLD Party and as a member of the NLD Party Central Youth Conference.

According to an NLD statement, as of 31 May 2023, nearly 1,600 party members, including members of parliament, have been arrested since the February 2021 coup.

Also, in the last week there has been an increase in the presence of junta troops in civilian areas of southeast Myanmar and further deaths and injuries of civilians due to indiscriminate firing by junta troops.

According to HURFOM, in the last week, three people travelling on the Yangon to Mawlamyine highway in Daung Taung Village, Kyaik Hto Township, Mon State were injured when junta troops indiscriminately fired machine guns for over half an hour.

“Ko Aung Lay, Ko Tun Naing from Anka Bo Village, and a driver standing on the side of the road were hit”, said a 40-year-old local eyewitness.