Myanmar Situation Update (20-26 September 2021)

Ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi pleaded ‘not guilty’ to incitement charges under Section 505b of the Penal Code According to her legal team and her economic adviser Sean Turnell, she appeared at the Dekkhinathiri District Court in Naypyitaw, along with three ousted Union ministers for the first time since their arrest in February.

A rumor has been spreading that Myanmar’s detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi opposed the armed resistance against the junta by the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) and the People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) and she denied it as a false report. Also, the National Unity Government is stepping up efforts to provide weapons and other support to anti-junta armed groups across the country following calls from the guerilla fighters for more assistance.

The junta has strongly rejected and objected to the conduct of the countries and organizations which allowed Mr. Kyaw Moe Tun to participate in the annual Ministerial Meeting on the Responsibility to Protect on 20 September.

Myanmar will not address the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly as an agreement was reached where Moscow and Beijing will not object to Kyaw Moe Tun remaining in Myanmar's U.N. seat for the moment as long as he does not speak during the high-level meeting.

The Chinese Embassy has conveyed its concerns to the military junta, saying that forces inside Myanmar seek to instigate anti-China unrest and may be planning to attack China’s twin oil-and-gas pipelines in the country.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released growth outlook projections suggesting this week and it warned that the impact of Myanmar’s military coup compounded by the pandemic’s third wave will see Myanmar’s GDP shrink by 18.4 percent — an almost 27 percent year-on-year decrease in the ADB’s prediction for Myanmar’s economic activity. As of 22nd September, 38 factories in Hlaing Tharyar and Shwe Thanlwin industrial zones in Hlaing Tharyar Township were shut down and nearly 10,000 workers have become unemployed, according to industrial committees.

According to the annual report of Freedom House, Myanmar’s ranking on the Net 2021 fell by 14 points, dropping in one year from 31 to 17, the steepest decline recorded in one year. Myanmar’s junta has shut down phones and the internet in nearly two dozen townships in Kachin, Chin states and Sagaing, Mandalay & Magway regions to block the flow of information in areas where armed clashes between the military and People’s Defense Force (PDF) militias have intensified in recent weeks. The junta blamed the anti-coup protesters who had destroyed military-owned communications towers for the data blackouts.

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 58 bomb blasts happened across Myanmar in the past week. It was reported that at least 22 people were injured and 9 died. 20 Mytel telecom masts were destroyed across the country.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP-Burma), the organization that documents atrocities committed by the Myanmar junta on civilians, has been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize for 2021. As of 25 September AAPP sources said 1,125 people have been killed by the junta. 6,803 people are currently under detention and 293 are sentenced. 65 have been sentenced to death and 1,989 are evading arrest warrants.

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