Myanmar Situation Update ( 21 – 27 February 2022)

The junta has threatened the Myanmar political parties of potential disbandment if they do not comply with its order to submit their financial accounts for inspection by 9 March 2022. The junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) has said that if the parties do not comply with the instruction, they would face legal action under Section 24 (c), (d) and (e) of the Registration of Political Parties Law. These provisions of the law carry potential punishments of a three-year suspension, having their operations halted and disbandment. The UEC has instructed the National League for Democracy (NLD), the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and two other parties to appear before 14 February to verify their financial accounts and expenses. Both the NLD and SNLD have not appeared yet the junta UEC has issued its warning on 23 February 2022. 

The EU announced its fourth round of sanctions against the junta, affecting 22 individuals and 4 entities including government ministers, a member of the State Administrative Council and members of the Union Election Commission, as well as high-ranking members of the junta Forces. Along with Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), the Htoo Group, the International Group of Entrepreneurs, and Mining Enterprise 1 are among the list of those sanctioned. As regards the sanctioned entities, these are either state-owned companies providing substantive resources to the Tatmadaw, or private companies closely connected to the Tatmadaw's top leadership. The rights groups and the Myanmar civil society have been advocating for sanctions against MOGE in particular. Justice for Myanmar (JFM) welcomed the EU sanctions in a statement and said MOGE is the junta’s biggest single source of revenue, responsible for financing its terror campaign.

Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob met with Cambodian Prime Minister and current Chair of ASEAN Hun Sen on a two-day visit to Cambodia that extended support to the visit of the ASEAN Envoy to Myanmar and stressed the importance of the implementation of the ASEAN five-point consensus that junta leader agreed in April 2021 in Jakarta. Malaysia has been very critical of Hun Sen’s visit to Myanmar in January without proper consultation of ASEAN leaders which led to the postponement of the ASEAN Foreign ministers meeting in Cambodia from January to February 2022.

The Gambia’s case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in The Hague has started with the first preliminary objections being heard. The Gambia has accused Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya in violation of the UN’s Genocide Convention. The junta’s legal team was led by the junta’s minister for international cooperation Ko Ko Hlaing and attorney general Thida Oo. The junta’s legal team delivered its preliminary objections and The Gambia responded. 

The junta also got attention in the past week for expressing its support to Russia for its invasion in Ukraine. "No. 1 is that Russia has worked to consolidate its sovereignty”, Junta spokesman General Zaw Min Tun said, citing the reasons for the junta to support the action by Russia. 

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in Myanmar Tom Andrews said that UN Security Council members China and Russia, as well as Serbia, have continued to supply the junta with weapons used to attack civilians since the coup. He further urged the Security Council to convene an emergency session "to debate and vote on a resolution to, at a minimum, ban those arms transfers that the Myanmar military is known to use to attack and kill Myanmar civilians".

India for Myanmar Movement sent an open letter to the organizers of the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit in Sri Lanka, urging them not to invite coup leader Min Aung Hlaing to the summit. The open letter says that in December 2021 the Myanmar military was invited to take part in military exercises of BIMSTEC countries in India and there are records that Myanmar military representatives attended many of BIMSTEC meetings as country representatives. The summit is scheduled to be held on 30 March 2022.

The latest UNHCR report on Myanmar revealed that the number of IDPs across Myanmar has reached a high of 453,000 since the coup. It also said there were an estimated 46,000 refugee movements to neighbouring countries and 980,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from Myanmar fled to neighbouring countries as of 31 December 2020. 

As of 25 February 2022, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) recorded that 1,582 people have been killed by the junta. 9,378 people are currently under detention. 84 have been sentenced to death and 1,973 are evading arrest warrants.

Prepared by

Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)

28 February 2022, 11:30 am (Bangkok time)

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