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ICRC officials meet with regime in Naypyidaw

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

ICRC officials meet with regime in Naypyidaw

The Director of Operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Martin Schüepp met with Soe Win in Naypyidaw on March 8, regime media reported. The two discussed “humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons, effective measures to provide ICRC’s aid to those who require aid and the resumption of temporarily suspended prison visits due to COVID-19 for inmates and their families.” Present at the meeting was Soe Htut, Thet Khaing Win, Thet Thet Khine, Aung Linn Tun and the ICRC Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Christine Cipolla, who previously met with the regime in June 2022. Representatives of international organizations have been criticized for meeting with the regime. 

ASEAN parliamentarians criticize planned elections

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) stated that it “absolutely opposes” any election held under the military at a forum in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 3-4. Members of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) attended and shared the APHR statements. The gathering of Southeast Asia’s elected parliamentarians highlighted the work of Phyo Zeyar Thaw, a former MP with the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a celebrated musician who was executed by the regime last July. The APHR forum condemned the “brutal massacre and rape” committed by the Burma Army in Sagaing Region.

Kayan woman included in list of best Muay Thai fighters

Vero Vor. Rujinrawong (aka Vero Nika) was listed number seven in the top ten female Muay Thai fighters on March 8. Among the women selected on International Women’s Day were Thais, Americans, British, French and Australians. “I never imagined that a female fighter would get such a position, but I am very proud of myself because they recognised me for my efforts,” Vero Niko told DVB. The 26-year-old female fighter won the “Thai Fight 100 years Nakornban” Muay Thai championship earlier this week.

News by Region

KARENNI—Today marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Karenni National Women’s Organization (KNWO), one of 13 members of the Women’s League of Burma (WLB), which promotes women’s participation in the struggle for democracy and human rights. The KNWO held an event at an internally displaced people’s (IDP) camp in Demoso on March 8. 

MANDALAY—The former chairperson of a local student union has not been heard from since his arrest on March 7. “We want to know our comrade’s status. The military apprehended our member and cut off his communication. I believe the military is using this as a threat against those that revolt against them,” a spokesperson from the Mahlaing Township Students’ Union told DVB. The spokesperson said they are concerned about the former chairperson’s health and want to know his location as soon as possible.

RAKHINE—More than 20 diplomats from ASEAN, China, India, and Bangladesh visited Maungdaw on March 8 with the regime-appointed minister Ko Ko Hlaing. The delegation visited the Ngakhuya and Hlaphoekhaung assessment camps for returning Rohingya. “The purpose of the visit is that the Burmese side wants to prove to the international community that it is ready for the re-acceptance of the refugees,” a local administrator told DVB. It has been reported in regime media that the repatriation of refugees is scheduled to begin on March 13. Local officials dispute that any repatriation could take place. “Actually, it is not possible to accept them. No matter how ready the Burmese side is, they cannot do anything if the refugees from Bangladesh do not want to come back to Burma,” said another administrator. 

SAGAING—At least 20 people were arrested in Indaw town this week following the death of two members of a local People’s Defense Force (PDF) – killed in an accidental explosion – on March 2. The two were killed when explosives detonated before a planned attack on the Burma Army, the PDF stated. “More than 20 people have been arrested. There were people who were released but locals have been continuously arrested,” a resident told DVB. “Those arrested are not PDFs,” he added. Indaw was placed under martial law on Feb. 2.  

SHAN—The Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (“White Tiger Party”) changed its name to the Shan and Ethnic Nationalities Democratic Party. “We changed the name in order to allow all ethnic groups to participate in the elections under the banner of the White Tiger Party, instead of only Shan State,” said Sai Aik Pao, the party’s chairperson. It plans to compete for 210 seats in seven states and regions, including Yangon, Bago, Mandalay, Ayeyarwady, Magway, and Naypyidaw. The regime’s Union Election Commission (UED) stated that there are 17 political parties registered for the election. So far, five political parties plan to compete nationwide, while 12 only intend to compete within a certain region or state. 

TANINTHARYI—An alleged military informant was killed in Tanintharyi Township on March 7, according to a local PDF. “Sa Ya Pha [Burmese acronym for military intelligence] gave him a gun. He also investigated the PDF areas of operations, ” a PDF spokesperson told DVB. A handmade gun and a phone were taken from the man after he was killed. The township was placed under martial law on Feb. 2.  

Give DVB Vox Pop (Podcast episode 1): “Alex” a listen, if you haven’t yet. Stay tuned as episode 2 is set to drop next week. DVB English is available wherever you get your podcasts.

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