Myanmar Situation Update (30 August – 5 September 2021)

ASEAN's special envoy to Myanmar is in talks with the junta for his trip to Myanmar and seeking access to ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He has proposed a 4-month ceasefire by all sides to enable the smooth delivery of the first batch of humanitarian assistance to the country.

The National Unity Government (NUG) is preparing its first budget, about $700 million, to use for humanitarian relief, COVID-19 vaccinations and striking workers inside Myanmar, as well as the NUG's operations at home and abroad. The NUG also released an announcement condemning the hostile actions of the State Administrative Council and its offensive attacks with the use of excessive force in ethnic areas, and urged the international community to work effectively to stop the junta’s actions.

The junta-appointed Union Election Commission has scrutinized the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and the Union Betterment Party (UBP) at the Union Territory election sub-commission office in Ottarathiri township regarding party funds and property, savings, maintenance and usage.

The Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) said that a total of 253 USDP members, their family members and party supporters had been killed over the past seven months, and the collected signatures, photo and video evidence of killings and other crimes committed by the NLD, NUG and CRPH would be sent to local and foreign relevant departments.

Yangon ranked as the least safe city in the world according to the latest Safe Cities Index compiled by the Economist’s Intelligence Unit as it ranked last in digital security, 58th in health, infrastructure security and personal security, as well as 54th in environmental security1. The German wholesale food distribution company Metro will terminate its operations in Myanmar by October due to the volatile business environment becoming the latest foreign investment to back off from the country since the coup.

The Karen National Union’s Mutraw (Hpapun) district information department said that 118 junta soldiers were killed and 68 were injured in more than 130 clashes between the junta and Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) troops in August2. The KNU Concerned Group also announced that the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), is no longer valid due to the military coup and they will support the civilian National Unity Government (NUG) in administrative, military and diplomatic matters.

China’s special envoy for Asian affairs Sun Guoxianghas, made a week-long visit to Myanmar in talks with the junta for trade affairs and also discussed Myanmar's political situation while Junta’s Vice Chairman Senior General Soe Win, accompanied by senior military officials, left Myanmar for Russia to attend the closing ceremony of the International Army Games 2021 at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister General Kuzhugetovich Shoigu.

Detained U.S. journalist Danny Fenster, managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, has been awarded the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, given by the U.S. National Press Club. His family members called for his release by Myanmar authorities as they marked the 100th day of his imprisonment. A journalist from Eleven Media was detained at his house in Myeik township of Tanintharyi Region, before being released on 3 September.

The CNA Myanmar bureau has won the Hinzpeter Awards for their news coverage of police violence during nation-wide demonstrations against a military coup in the country and a Myanmar photographer, who remained unnamed for security reasons, won the top award at photojournalism's biggest annual festival for his coverage of the troubled nation's pro-democracy protests and bloody military crackdown.

As of releasing this weekly update, the junta continues to cut off internet connection used by civilians in Hpakant of Kachin State despite junta’s spokesperson saying that there was no separate instruction to cut off the internet in Hpakant.

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 Bago Region.

According to the information compiled by ANFREL, at least 38 bomb blasts happened across Myanmar in the past week. It was reported that at least 8 people were injured and 3 died3.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported that, as of 4 September, 1,046 people have been killed by the junta. 6,230 people are currently under detention and 264 are sentenced. 65 have been sentenced to death and 1,984 are evading arrest warrants4. Among those detained by the junta since the coup, about 5,000 or 82% are in unknown locations, posing a serious threat to public security and violating international law5.

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[1] https://thehill.com/changing-america/resilience/smart-cities/570069-the-most-dangerous-city-in-the-world
[2] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/over-100-myanmar-regime-troops-killed-in-august-knla.html
[3] Annexure I
[4] https://aappb.org/?p=17482
[5] https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/about-5000-of-those-held-by-myanmar-junta-are-in-unknown-locations-advocacy-group.html

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ANFREL-Myanmar-Situation-Update_30-August-5-September-2021

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