Myanmar Situation Update (2-8 August 2021)

As 8 August 2021 marked for Myanmar the 33rd anniversary of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, a historic protest movement in which the cry for democracy of Myanmar’s people was heard around the world, activists around the country renewed calls to end military rule once and for all.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) picked Brunei’s second foreign minister, Erywan Yusof, as its special envoy to Myanmar. He has been tasked with opening dialogue between the military rulers and their opponents in an effort to halt the violence, and stated that he should be given full access to all parties in Myanmar. 413 Myanmar civil society organizations released a statement rejecting the special envoy and expressing deep disappointment with ASEAN and their lack of inclusive decision-making process. The junta has approved the appointment as reported by state-controlled media.

Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations who is denounced by the junta, Kyaw Moe Tun said that an apparent threat had been made against him and that U.S. authorities had stepped up his security. Later, two Myanmar citizens were charged with one count of conspiracy to assault or violently attack him. If convicted, they can face a prison sentence of up to five years. Sources reported that conspirators accused of plotting an attack have military ties. 

Twenty-eight junta-backed political parties, including the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), on Wednesday released a joint statement that they would welcome the new elections the military junta says it will hold in the future. The Wa National Party (WNP) also announced their strong denunciation against the signature of U Sai Paung Nut, chair of their party, which was included in an announcement of 28 political parties.

The junta massacred around 40 people in Kani Township of Sagaing Region in July, according to residents. Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, sent a letter to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, to alert that case as a “reported massacre” by the military junta.

More than 60 junta soldiers were killed and 101 injured in clashes with the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) in Karen State’s Mutraw (Hpapun) District in July alone, according to the Karen National Union (KNU).

The Arakan Army (AA) and its political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA), have accelerated their effort to expand their administrative grip and be seen as its legitimate governing body in Rakhine State. They announced a stay-at-home order and had warned that legal action would be taken against anyone who does not follow the directive and making inroads on the legal system in the state, saying all legal disputes, including over land, as well as cases involving violence and theft, should be submitted to the ULA.

According to the World Food Program (WFP)’s latest estimate, 6.2 million people in Myanmar could face food insecurity by October, a crisis that is compounded by ongoing political unrest and a third wave of the coronavirus sweeping the country. The WFP is appealing for $86 million to provide help over the next six months to two million people in Myanmar facing acute hunger and the ravages of COVID-19.

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, Chin, Kayah States and Sagaing, Mandalay, Bago, Yangon and Magway Regions.

According to the information compiled by ANFREL, at least 22 bomb blasts happened across Myanmar in the past week. It was reported that at least 15 people were injured and 4 died.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that, as of 7 August, 960 people have been killed by the junta. 5,512 people are currently under detention and 255 are sentenced. 65 have been sentenced to death and 1,984 are evading arrest warrants.


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