Myanmar
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Daily Briefing: Friday, September 23, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Miss Grand International Myanmar Han Lay held in Bangkok

The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) visited Burmese beauty queen Han Lay, real name Thaw Nandar Aung, at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after being denied entry into Thailand and refusing to board a return flight to Vietnam, where she had been on holiday. Read more here. 

Detained NLD MP in Kachin State killed during interrogation. Myo Myo Kyaw, a National League for Democracy party MP in Mohnyin Township in Kachin State, was killed during interrogation, sources close to his family told RFA Burmese. “He was arrested on Aug. 24 near 21 Milestone in Myitkyina Township. His body wasn’t returned to the family. His family also does not know what day he died or where he was buried,” Win Naing, Hluttaw MP for Namti Township wrote on his Facebook page this morning. The victim was arrested together with a protest leader at a 20 Milestone checkpoint gate on Aug. 24. According to sources close to his family, he was killed during interrogation when the Burma Army discovered photos of National Unity Government treasury bonds and other information related to the People’s Defense Force on the detainees’ mobile phones during their arrests. The MP’s family initially contacted junta authorities but only found out later about his death as police did not provide any information about Myo Myo Kyaw.

Japan donates to support Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Japan donated $3.5 million USD to the UNHCR to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who fled Burma. The Embassy of Japan in Bangladesh announced on Sep. 21 that the UNHCR and Japanese government had signed an agreement to use the donation to provide key services – including health care and legal protection – to Rohingya living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char.  

US Embassy funds UN’s fact finding mission for Burma. The US Embassy in Burma announced that it is providing an additional $1 million USD to the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). The statement was issued on Sept.20 and the funds will be delivered through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement under the US Department of State in support of IIMM’s efforts. 

Prominent resistance leader calls on Burma’s upper class to join the revolution. Bo Nagar, leader of the Sagaing-based local defense force Myanmar Royal Dragon Army, urged rich businessmen to join the revolution and not be “selfish.” He made the comments in an exclusive interview with DVB and claimed that the revolution is not only important for Burma’s working class but also provides benefits and opportunities for the business community. “There are many rich individuals and businessmen who do not help us. The public will be thankful if they take part in the revolution. I’m sure they can save face if they join the revolution that is close to victory,” he said. Bo Nagar’s MRDA primarily operates in Sagaing’s Pale Township and is fighting against the Burma Army.

News by Region

MON—The military council seized more than 80 houses of members of the National League for Democracy, National Unity Government, Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, and the People’s Defense Force, and activists in Mon State, according to data collected by Than Lwin Times. Over 40 of the houses are in Thaton and another 40 houses are in Mawlamyine District and businesses and other properties were also seized by the regime. The majority of the owners of those properties were charged under the Counter-Terrorist Act, Unlawful Association Act, sedition and treason and some were not even charged under any law. The actual figures of sealed properties are likely much higher. Since the coup, the junta has confiscated 155 houses, properties and businesses of its opponents across the country. According to the NLD’s Central Working Committee, 115 houses of civilians unaffiliated with the NLD were seized by the military council. 

SHAN—Junta administration authorities have ordered refugees in Shan State to dismantle their camps and return to their villages or their relatives’ homes by the end of September, according to sources who aid refugees. On Sep. 17, authorities from Kyaukme Township arrived at the office of Shan Literature and Culture Association (SCLA) – an organization that has accepted and provided aid to refugees – and instructed them to leave the camps. “They [junta authorities] said that if the refugees comply, they will be provided with two weeks of food. They will be escorted to the villages if the refugees want to go home. They said that refugee camps should not exist in the entire country,” a local source who advocates for the rights of refugees told DVB. 

Thousands of people were displaced in Kyaukme Township due to fighting between the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) and the coalition forces of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) two years ago. However, the refugees are fearful of returning home because of repeated landmine explosions, lack of rebuilding of villages, and the presence of armed groups in the villages of the region despite the RCSS withdrawing their troops earlier this year. A total of 55 families consisting of 158 people are left in the refugee camps supported by the SCLA and it is difficult to return to their villages. 

In Nammatu Township, the local junta administration has been pressured to demolish refugee camps this month, forcing some refugees to leave the camps. Although they returned to their villages, residents of Nammatu said the township remains volatile and unsafe. Thousands of residents of Nammatu Township were displaced due to clashes between the Burma Army, TNLA, SSPP, RCSS and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) about a decade ago. Hundreds of houses were destroyed in arson attacks during the fighting.

YANGON—One man was killed and another one was injured in a shooting in Mayangone Township on Sept. 22, according to local sources. The two men were talking at the corner of Aung Thaidhi and Pa Mauk Kha roads when an unidentified gunman shot them. Zwe Thu Aung, 22, died on the spot while Hla Myint Thein was injured. “I don’t know why they were shot. The young man was shot in the head and the other was wounded in his thigh,” a resident told DVB. Security forces investigated the perimeter where the incident took place following the shootings. A total of 30 shootings and explosions have occurred in Yangon this month so far, killing seven people and injuring ten others.