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ASEAN-Australia Summit 2024 to discuss Burma’s crisis; Nearly 100 Burma nationals arrested in Thailand

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

ASEAN-Australia Summit 2024 to discuss Burma’s crisis

Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are expected to discuss Burma’s crisis during a meeting in Melbourne for the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit from March 4-6. Nine out of 10 ASEAN members are in attendance, Burma being excluded, along with officials from Timor-Leste and Australia. 

The military regime in Naypyidaw sent a non-political representative to the last ASEAN summit hosted by Laos in January. Protesters in Melbourne called on ASEAN to recognize the National Unity Government (NUG) instead of the military. Members of the NUG and Burma’s civil society organized a “Myanmar People’s Summit” to coincide with the ASEAN-Australia Summit in Melbourne. 

“We are very proud to be here as fighters for peace and leaders for human rights for our beloved country,” said Judah Thang, protest organizer and representative of the United Myanmar Community of South Australia. The ASEAN Five Point Consensus has failed to halt violence in Burma since it was adopted in April 2021 after the military coup. 

Nearly 100 Burma nationals arrested in Thailand

Authorities have arrested 94 Burma nationals, including five children, for allegedly entering Thailand illegally through a village near the Thai-Burma border, located in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province on Sunday.

“They [told police] they entered illegally and were escorted in a truck. The truck passed one of the inspection gates but was chased by Thai police,” said Chit, a Burma national who lives in the Thai village where the arrests occurred. 

The 94 Burma nationals are being held at a police station. Many people in the age bracket for military conscription have tried to flee to Thailand since the regime announced the 2010 Military Service Law would be activated on Feb. 10. 

Migrant workers warned not to bring contraband into South Korea

South Korean authorities informed Burma’s Labor Attaché Office in the capital Seoul that the fines for foreigners caught with contraband at Incheon Airport will increase from 100,000 Korean won ($75 USD) to five million won ($3,757 USD). 

The announcement came as a number of migrant workers from Burma were arrested for entering South Korea with prohibited food and agricultural products. Local authorities, labor organizations, and agencies have warned Burma nationals against it.  

News by Region

Taze residents report that the Burma Army and aligned militias conducted arson attacks in six villages during an offensive in the township. (Credit: CJ)

SAGAING—Taze residents said the dismembered bodies of eleven men, aged 30 to 70, were discovered after the Burma Army and pro-military militias raided the township between Feb. 19 and March 3. They also torched homes in six villages

“Our resistance forces seized Kanhtooma police station in western Taze on Feb. 21. Burma Army and  [pro-military] militia reinforcements that were sent to try to retake the station raided villages and killed civilians,” said a local resistance group. Taze residents added that nine of the 11 victims were civilians and two were resistance fighters. 

ARAKAN—Arakan Army (AA) spokesperson Khaing Thukha told DVB during an online press conference on Monday that Arakan State does not intend to secede from Burma. “We will stand in union with the policy of the right to create Arakan’s own destiny. And we will not ask anyone for it but work ourselves to ensure that we have it,” he said. 

The AA stated that it will only consider secession if the military continues to commit “daily atrocities against civilians.” Khaing Thukha said that the AA will continue to pursue its  goals to ensure that it is the only armed group in Arakan State. The AA seized control of Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minbya, Buthidaung, Maungdaw townships in Arakan and Paletwa in southern Chinland. 

AYEYARWADY—The Pathein Prison court sentenced seven political prisoners to death on Feb. 29. They are accused of helping kill a military veteran in Pyapon in November 2021 and were arrested in 2022. 

“Four prisoners with two death sentences have now been sentenced to death three times. Another prisoner with a death sentence has now been sentenced to death twice. They received additional charges for murders and assisting murders,” said an unnamed source close to the prison. 

The seven are now being held in solitary confinement. All allege they were tortured at Pyapon prison before being transferred to Pathein Prison last October. At least 164 people have been sentenced to death since the military coup, states the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). 

MON—Kamawet residents report that three leaders of pro-military militias were arrested by the New Mon State Party Anti-Dictatorship (NMSP-AD) in Mudon Township on March 2-3. Weapons and ammunition reportedly supplied by the Burma Army were also seized. 

“The arrests occurred after the Burma Army arrested three women who were connected with NMSP-AD on March 1,” said an unnamed source close to NMSP-AD. The NMSP-AD said that it split from the NMSP for meeting repeatedly with the regime in Naypyidaw. 

Read our op-ed: Embattled military regime resorts to conscription law. DVB English News is on X, FB, Instagram, Threads, TikTok & YouTube.

Listen to Newsroom featuring Kim Aris on Aung San Suu Kyi and aid to Myanmar. DVB English News is available wherever you get your podcasts. Listen on Spotify or YouTube.

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