Myanmar Situation Update (19-25 July 2021)

Demonstrations were held across Myanmar on the public Martyr’s Day holiday to commemorate slain independence heroes, including the father of the country's detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta excluded Suu Kyi from the annual Martyrs’ Day observances honoring her father, Gen. Aung San, and other heroes who led Myanmar to independence from British rule. Detained senior National League for Democracy (NLD) politician Nyan Win, a senior adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi, died in the hospital after becoming infected with COVID-19 in jail.

Prisoners within Yangon’s Insein Prison staged a protest by chanting anti-dictatorship slogans on the morning of 23 July and made three demands to the junta: free political prisoners charged under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code, provide adequate and proper medical treatment to those who have been ill, and relax the new restrictions on items sent to inmates from their families which have made life extremely hard. The Committee Representing Yangon Region Hluttaw (CRYH) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) called for an urgent request to the diplomatic community to act for the safeguard of prisoners. A joint statement was released by 16 ambassadors to Myanmar, urging the relevant authorities to resolve the situation peacefully. Sources close to the military confirmed that at least 20 prisoners including 5 women were killed during a brutal crackdown by the junta in Insein Prison, while the University of Yangon Students’ Union (UYSU) announced that the junta armed forces made a brutal crackdown by beating those political prisoners and kept the protest leaders in solitary confinement. The junta’s deputy director of the Prison Department denied keeping protest leaders in solitary confinement in Insein.

Myanmar's ousted government said in a press conference that the COVID-19 vaccination program will start next month with two methods; firstly vaccination will be implemented in ethnic areas and secondly it will be performed with third-party organizations.

The UN Country Team in Myanmar was stepping up its response efforts following an alarming spike in the reported number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Its first support was brought up to the IDPs in Mindat of Chin State via UNHCR. Up to 5,000 people will be benefited according to a UN statement. But IDPs in remote areas of Mindat which are not under the control of the junta are left behind as the junta imposed restrictions on the distribution of UNHCR aid and didn’t let the aid team go outside town.

The United States on 23 July renewed its call on Myanmar's junta to free a jailed US journalist Danny Fenster, managing editor of the Frontier Myanmar news outlet, as concerns grow about a COVID-19 outbreak in prisons packed with detained activists. Amnesty International called on the junta to release prominent human rights defender Thin Thin Aung who is facing three years in prison over materials published and broadcast by the media outlet she co-founded, Mizzima. IFEX, the global network of over 100 organizations dedicated to promoting and defending the right to freedom of expression and information, called for the restoration of media licenses to IFEX member Mizzima News and other media outlets who have played an essential role in shedding light on the violence inflicted by the junta against their own people. Also on 20 July, the junta arrested the chief editor and 2 journalists from Taunggyi-based Thanlwin Thwechin media.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Myanmar has lost an estimated 1.2 million jobs in the second quarter following the February military takeover that crippled an economy already weakened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid political unrest, the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing fighting between the military and civilian resistance fighters and ethnic armed groups, the junta is quietly attempting to pave the way for the implementation in Myanmar of China’s strategic infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Protests continue in different parts of Myanmar despite the crackdown by the junta. The clashes between the junta forces and the civil resistance fighters or Ethnic Armed Organizations also emerged across Myanmar particularly in Shan, Karen, Kachin, Mon, Kayah, Chin States and Sagaing, Yangon, Bago and Magway Regions.

According to the information compiled by ANFREL, at least 12 bomb blasts happened across Myanmar in the past week. It was reported that at least 4 people were injured.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that, as of 24 July, 931 people have been killed by the junta. 5,360 people are currently under detention and 255 are sentenced. 65 have been sentenced to death and 1,963 are evading arrest warrants.

Myanmar-Situation-Update-19-25-July-2021

Download full update here: Myanmar Situation Update (19-25 July 2021)

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