Myanmar Situation Update ( 7 – 13 February 2022)

Cambodian Prime Minister and the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Hun Sen admitted that it was a mistake for taking credit in helping to free the  Australian Professor Sean Turnell, an economic adviser to ousted Myanmar state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, detained by the junta in Myanmar following the military coup on 1 February 2021. The junta spokesman Zaw Min Htun denied his release after Hun Sen’s statement. He has been charged for violating Myanmar's immigration and official secrets laws by trying to leave the country with sensitive financial information, potentially facing a 14-year sentence in Jail. Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne once again urged the junta to release Professor Turnell and renewed the Australian government's condemnation of the military coup and violence against civilians and other serious human rights violations in Myanmar.  

The Prime Minister office of Cambodia also said this week that the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has agreed to arrange for an ASEAN special envoy from Cambodia to meet members of the ousted ruling NLD party on a future visit. It is also said the junta has not decided yet who are the NLD party members that the ASEAN special envoy can meet. ASEAN also denied junta’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin joining the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh in February. Instead, ASEAN will invite a non-political representative.

The junta-appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that it will conduct the investigation on political party membership, party funds and resources, maintenance, use, auditing and liquidation and the party activities of Yangon based political parties including the National League for Democracy (NLD), National Unity Party, 88 Generation Students Party and the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy from 14 to 25 February 2022. The junta-appointed UEC has also already conducted investigations on a total of 67 political parties based in Shan, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine States, Sagaing, Taninthayi, Bago, Mandalay and Ayeyawady Regions and 24 parties based in Yangon Region. The investigation teams included the junta-appointed officials from the Union Election Commission, Office of the Auditor-General of the Union and the Bureau of Special Investigation. 

The Rakhine state witnessed the heaviest fighting between the Rakhine-based Arakhine Army and the junta troops since the coup. The fresh fighting started over the last week in Maung Taw Township, Rakhine State continued over this week. Further the ethnic armed groups have rejected junta’s invitation to join the peace talks on Union Day that the three Brotherhood Alliance including the Arakan Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Karen National Union and the Kachin Independence Army are among them. The figures released by the junta also revealed that a total of 367 junta-appointed administration officials have been killed nationwide, while another 336 have been wounded over the last one year period. The attacks have been conducted by the various armed groups including local civil resistance groups.  

The armed clashes and attacks on civilians in Myanmar continue to rise over the last few months as rights groups reported. 1005 attacks were reported in January, 2022 alone flowing 799,888 and 870 from October to December, 2021. The numbers exceeded Syria and Afghanistan combined during the period. The NDTV also reported that over 2200 Myanmar refugees have reached Mizoram State in India since the coup and other reports also say over 400,000 people have been displaced since the coup by the junta air strikes, heavy weaponry attacks and mass arrests in different parts of the country. 

Norwegian telecoms company Telenor has been in light of criticisms by Myanmar and the Norwegian civil society organizations for the sale of its Myanmar unit to a joint venture by a junta connected local company and a Lebanon based M 1 group. Myanmar Now reported, Telenor has compiled at least 200 multiple requests from the junta-controlled Ministry of Transport and Communications over sensitive user data since the coup. The information includes the records of phone calls, call locations, the last known location of a number and requests to shut down specified mobile numbers. Justice for Myanmar urged Telenor to halt the sale of the Myanmar unit as 18 million Telenor users' data would effectively be under the control of the junta committing war crimes.  The rights activists of Myanmar also launched an online that collected over 86,000 signatures called Telenor and its majority shareholder, the Norwegian government to halt the sale. The Norwegian Government has a 53.97% stake in Telenor as a major shareholder of Telenor Group. 

A Myanmar resident, on behalf of 18 million Telenor subscribers in Myanmar also has filed a complaint to the Norwegian Data Protection Authority against Telenor, accusing the firm of breaching the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and a  Norwegian civil society network called Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment submitted a complaint against Telenor Group to the police to probe into whether the company’s sale plan of its Myanmar subsidiary is in violation of “crimes against humanity”.

The world’s 4th largest cargo shipping company, Taiwan-based Evergreen announced that it will no longer use the military-owned Hteedan Port Terminal in Yangon.

As of 11 February 2022, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) recorded that 1,547 people have been killed by the junta. 9,047 people are currently under detention. 84 have been sentenced to death and 1,974 are evading arrest warrants.

Prepared by

Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)

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

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