Myanmar Situation Update (30 May-5 June 2022)

Myanmar junta-led courts rejected appeals by a deposed lawmaker and a prominent former activist to their death sentences on “terrorism” charges since last year’s coup. There are at least 115 people who have been sentenced to death in Myanmar since the coup. The executions typically take place within 45 days of a ruling to uphold a death sentence. The last execution in Myanmar was known to take place in 1988, during the time of the late General Ne Win. 

A court in Myanmar ruled on 3 June that state prosecutors have submitted enough evidence for the trial of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on an election fraud charge to continue, a legal official familiar with the case said. A conviction in the election fraud case could lead to the National League for Democracy (NLD) party being dissolved and unable to participate in a new election that the military has been promising to take place in 2023. 

Businessman Maung Weik, the key witness in a corruption case against Aung San Suu Kyi, testified that an alleged bribe paid to her was really a donation to Daw Khin Kyi Foundation. The junta filed corruption cases against several figures in the ousted Yangon regional NLD government but spared the former chief minister Phyo Min Thein, who testified against Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s military regime shut down a well-known publishing house, Lwin Oo Sarpay, in Yangon for importing and distributing a book on the 2017 Rohingya genocide. In recent weeks, the junta has shut down two other publishing houses, Shwe Lat and Yan Aung Sarpay, and the Win To Aung printing press. 

The number of internally displaced people in Myanmar exceeded 1 million for the first time in history as conflicts escalate all across the country after the military coup. There are 694,000 people who have been displaced by the conflict and insecurity, as of 26 May. An estimated 346,000 more people from Rakhine, Kachin, Chin and Shan, were displaced by fighting before last year’s coup. According to Amnesty International’s report, more than 150,000 people have been displaced in Kayah and Kayin states. Nearly 40,000 people from Myanmar fled to neighboring countries India and Thailand.

Myanmar’s military is sending more troops into Rakhine state amid fears that an informal ceasefire with the Arakan Army (AA) is about to collapse. A submarine arrived at Kyauk Phyu township on 31 May, and a warship arrived the following day. A resumption of a full-scale conflict between Myanmar’s military and the AA insurgents could result in the worst violence Rakhine state has seen in years and put the lives of 3 million ethnic Rakhines and Rohingyas in the region at risk, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG). 

Myanmar military chief Min Aung Hlaing met with delegations from the United Wa State Party (UWSP) on 30 May. UWSP is the fourth EAO to join the peace talks with the junta. After the meeting, the Wa party issued a statement demanding the establishment of a Wa autonomous state. The junta agreed in principle to grant more rights to Wa. The NUG declared that any agreements made with the terrorist regime are illegal and warned that they won’t be recognized, as the junta continued to hold talks with a number of ethnic armed organizations (EAO). 

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) said at their annual congress that they will stand up for the rule of law, and justice and fight against all dictators. SNLD said they would cooperate with other organizations to encourage national unity and end ongoing conflicts in Shan State and across the country. Leaders from Karen National Union (KNU) and National League for Democracy (NLD) met online on 27 May, and discussed the future of federal democracy and how to overthrow the military dictatorship in Myanmar, according to KNU spokesperson Pado Saw Taw Nee. This is the third time meeting with KNU and the NLD since the coup last year. 

According to the interview with the Irrawaddy, NUG acting president said over 250 PDF battalions have gained control of over 15% of the country’s territory. Combined with the territories controlled by the EAOs, revolutionary forces now have control of over half of Myanmar. Moreover, the NUG has established administrative and judicial mechanisms in areas controlled by PDFs, and NUG is delivering education, health and humanitarian aid as a government. 

The NUG, together with the Karenni National Progressive Party, Karen National Union and Chin National Front, expressed concern over a plan, through ASEAN and the UN, for the illegal military junta to channel aid to those in need. 

Myanmar military and its Border Guard Force (BGF) militia released on 21 May more than 90 civilian hostages that they used as human shields as BGF troops left the camp in Lay Kay. 

As of 3 June 2022, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) recorded that 1,887 people have been killed by the junta since the coup. There are 10,903 people currently under detention. There are 114 people who have been sentenced to death while 1,979 people are evading arrest warrants. 

Prepared by the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) 6 June 2022, 11:30 a.m. (Bangkok time)

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