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Counting Myanmar’s civilian casualties since the military coup


Counting Myanmar’s Dead, a study conducted by the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), found that at least 6,337 civilians were killed and 2,614 were wounded for “political reasons” following the Feb. 1, 2021 military coup up to Sept. 30, 2022. PRIO stated that the death toll is an estimate taken from credible media reports. It added that the number killed is likely higher as many deaths in Burma go unreported. The military and its affiliated groups have killed 3,003 civilians. Anti-military groups and Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) have killed 2,152. At least 1,170 civilians were killed by unidentified groups or individuals. The data was compiled from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and the Myanmar Institute for Peace and Security (MIPS) Township-based Conflict Monitoring System (TCMS). 

Sagaing, Magway, Yangon, and Mandalay regions had the highest concentration of people killed for political reasons out of anywhere else in the country. Many of the civilians killed by the military were for reprisals or in “clearance” operations of areas suspected of harboring resistance fighters. Anti-military groups killed alleged informants, local administrators, civil servants, and members of the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). Civilian deaths peaked in December 2021 when 492 were reportedly killed. The PRIO study warned that civilian deaths may increase dramatically after the military announces the date of its expected election. “The scope and scale of violence against civilians could reach a level of politicide,” it added. The PRIO recommended that the U.N. create a mechanism to document the killings of civilians in Burma modeled on the one created by the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) to keep track of civilian deaths in Ukraine following the 2022 Russian invasion.


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