Human Rights Situation in Myanmar (14 February – 21 February 2022)
It is no surprise to the people of Myanmar that the junta cannot be trusted. Decades of violence against civilians, perpetrated with impunity has denied many justice. Rights, freedoms and basic protections under the regime have entirely disappeared. While trying to pursue legitimacy nonetheless, the leaders of the attempted coup have failed tremendously. And yet, the international community and other stakeholders including regional actors have seemingly been complicit in their war path which has deprived civilians their right to life.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial meeting, which took place last week, did not include a representative from Myanmar after the junta was barred from attending. A ‘five-point consensus’ proposed to the junta last year, has failed to make even the slightest bit of progress. A peace process has not been facilitated, nor has any end of the fighting been alluded to. Thousands remain in military custody under the harshest of conditions, where in addition to falsified charges, they have been deprived of their basic human rights.
Talks at the ASEAN meeting included a discussion on how to resolve the worsening human rights crisis in Myanmar. ASEAN is divided on how to deal with the junta. Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia have been critical of the junta. Whereas, Thailand and Cambodia have failed to draw a hard line with the regime amid a series of excuses and citing the crisis as ‘an internal issue.’
ASEAN cannot be relied upon as a mediator in the crisis when the junta has so obviously proven that their lies are interwoven into excuses which are evident of a lack of accountability and regard for critics. They have no moral compass and cannot be trusted.
In Mingin Township, Sagaing region, the bodies of four civilians were found deceased with evidence of serious trauma to their bodies. One of the bodies was discovered badly burned and reduced to ashes. The discovery of the villagers came after the regime had set hundreds of homes on fire in Mote Thar and Mauk Tet. Only a few homes have been left standing as the numbers of displacement continue to rise.
According to Myanmar Now, those killed were Naing Soe Lin, a 21-year-old vegetable seller, and three volunteer village guards named Kaung Min San, 18, Than Min Soe, 24, and Naing Zaw, 28. The victims had families and were denied not only protection and their rights, but also a proper burial. The wife of Naing Soe Lin is also missing.
The increase of force and airstrikes comes as the junta is losing their offensives across the country. In January 2022, nearly forty civilians were forced to guide junta soldiers as human shields, including women and children.
The latest documentation by the Shan Human Rights Foundation (SHRF) found harrowing evidence of further crimes against humanity perpetrated against innocent civilians. A 44 year old farmer, who had been displaced, was tortured to death in Kyaukme township, northern Shan State. Military intelligence officers arrived at his home and violently forced their way into his home where they searched for drugs. When their search failed to render the results they were after, the farmer, Sai Tun Win, was beaten on his body and head. His family members were also assaulted by the soldiers and robbed of their possessions, including 30 000 Myanmar Kyat.
Sai Tun Win was forced to accompany the soldiers where he was found at a hospital with wounds to his head and mouth, and a remaining handcuff on his left hand. The regime called the whole thing a ‘misunderstanding’ and refused to pay the devastated family any compensation. Just one week before, SHRF reported on the case of a villager who was killed in a violent hit and run by the junta in Mong Hsu, southern township and no compensation was provided, nor justice for the family was granted in further incidents of human rights violations perpetrated against innocent civilians.
Villagers in northern Shan State were also forced to flee airstrikes perpetrated by the military junta. The majority of those who fled were women and children.
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