Myanmar Situation Update (13-19 September 2021)

The junta will put ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on a new trial on four charges of corruption beginning on Oct 1 in Naypyidaw, adding to the ongoing cases that could see her jailed for decades. The Special Court in Naypyidaw has set a date for the sentencing of three defendants, including Aung San Suu Kyi, under Section 505 (b) of the Criminal Code.

Aung San Suu Kyi reportedly refused to accept two letters given by the UEC as they weren’t addressed to her and it was a decision to be made by a meeting of the central executive committee (CEC). Junta’s Union Election Commision member Khin Maung Oo said that there is no plan to make a financial audit of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

The National Unity Government (NUG) released a statement that the junta has no interest in a peaceful political settlement and it could no longer rely on the international community to support the country’s democracy movement or to protect the people of Myanmar from the brutality of the military junta. NUG also has prepared evidence of junta war crimes & massacres and will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council this month.

Of the 483 hotels registered in the former capital Yangon , 225 hotels which account for almost half of Yangon’s hotels, have now ceased operations amid a near total collapse of Myanmar’s tourism industry, according to figures provided by an official from the junta control tourism ministry.

From September 1st to 13th, over 120 Myanmar workers entering the Mae Sot border and Hteekhe border in Thailand, were arrested by Thailand security forces and some were infected with COVID-19 virus, according to those who help with workers’ affairs.

Two anti-junta activists, Esther Ze Naw Bamvo and Ei Thinzar Maung, and innovator Mi Mi Aung were honored as influential figures in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2021.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office said that its chief Katherine Tai has urged the ASEAN to send its special envoy to visit Myanmar as soon as possible to promote dialogue. The United States and China have brokered an agreement to effectively block Myanmar’s military representative from addressing the United Nations’ General Assembly. A Representative from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) visited Myanmar for three days earlier this week. Reportedly junta health minister ‘rebuffed’ UN official’s request for greater humanitarian access in Myanmar.

Two more journalists, Mizzima News former editor-in-chief and journalist from the Channel Mandalay news agency were arrested by the junta this week. The number of Myanmar journalists and news staff arrested since the Feb coup has hit 100 and 46 of them remain in detention. Since the military’s February 1 coup, Myanmar has become the world’s second-biggest jailer of journalists, after China.

Mobile and wifi internet services from Myanmar’s three main telecom operators – MPT, Telenor and Oredoo have been blocked in 6 townships in Sagaing, and 2 townships in Mandalay Region where strongholds of anti-junta resistance groups who have inflicted heavy casualties on junta forces.

Protests continued in different parts of Myanmar despite the crackdown by the junta over the week. The clashes between the junta forces and the civil resistance fighters or Ethnic Armed Organizations also emerged in all states and regions except Rakhine Region.

According to the information compiled by ANFREL, at least 76 bomb blasts happened across Myanmar in the past week. It was reported that at least 17 people were injured and 9 died. 32 Mytel telecom masts were destroyed across the country. Junta’s spokesperson said that around 700,000 people in Myanmar are estimated to have lost internet access after attacks on telecommunication equipment run by Mytel.

As of 18 September, 1,109 people have been killed by the junta. 6,613 people are currently under detention and 279 are sentenced. 65 have been sentenced to death and 1,984 are evading arrest warrants.

Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) says a total of 1,710 junta soldiers were killed and more than 630 wounded during 1,171 shootouts and assassinations involving ethnic armed groups and civilian resistance fighters over the past three months.

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