FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM
Junta holds NDSC meeting on eve of coup anniversary
The regime’s National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) meeting was held on Jan. 31 in Naypyidaw. Regime media reported that the meeting had described Burma’s situation as being “still in an abnormal position where attempts are being made to gain state authority through insurgency and bloodshed.” The junta stated that further details of the meeting will be released on Feb. 1. The meeting, attended by the regime’s top officials, is always held before extending the state of emergency, implemented after the 2021 coup. According to Burma’s 2008 constitution, a one-year state of emergency can only be extended twice, for up to 6 months each time. The junta has already extended its state of emergency twice for a period of six months, and legally are unable to extend it in accordance with its current constitution, legal experts said.
Despite the fact that all major junta officials were present for the NDSC meeting, Henry Van Thio, who is still acknowledged by the junta as one of Burma’s vice presidents, was hospitalized for a head injury and missed the meeting. The junta has jailed ousted NLD top officials, but Henry Van Thio (who held the same position of VP in the ousted NLD administration) still holds this position. Henry Van Thio is reported to have missed the two previous NDSC gatherings.
NLD says 84 NLD members have been killed since coup
The National League for Democracy Human Right Documentation Team (NLD-HRDT) announced on Jan. 29 that 84 NLD party members, including two Hluttaw MPs, were killed by the Burma Army since the 2021 coup. More than 9,800 people have been detained as of January, 2023, Amongst them, 1,232 members of the NLD including 80 Hluttaw MPs were arrested, according to the NLD-HRDT. Kyaw Htwe, a member of the NLD Central Working Committee, vowed the party will continue to resist the military coup. The NLD-HRDT said 605 homes were sealed, including 577 houses belonging to NLD members and Hluttaw MPs. “They sealed the Hluttaw MP’s houses including mine and sold some of them. Is this in accordance with the law? We all are suffering because of their actions and I’m opposed to them. All Burmese people can understand this,” a Hluttaw MP told DVB. In addition, the junta conducted 120 raids against NLD offices including its HQ. The NLD-HRDT also urged ASEAN and international organizations to take effective action against the coup regime’s abuses in accordance with international law.
Airstrikes kill at least 17 civilians across Burma in January
At least 17 civilians were killed in 13 regime airstrikes during the month of January. Airstrikes occurred in Sagaing, Magway, and Mandalay regions as well as Kachin, Karen and Chin states according to data collected by DVB. The spokesperson of the Presidential Office of the National Unity Government (NUG), Kyaw Zaw, claimed that over 80 percent of the airstrikes targeted civilians and that it would likely increase this year. The regime carried out 300 airstrikes since the 2021 coup. More than 460 people were killed, according to the NUG.
News by Region
AYEYARWADY—The Pathein Prison Court sentenced Hla Myat Thway, ousted Minister of Social Affairs of Ayeyarwady Region, to two years in prison for incitement on Jan. 30. “The court gave the order a month after she was charged. She was under house arrest inside government housing. None of the other members from the regional government were charged. All of them were released already,” a source with knowledge of her case said. She was charged on Dec. 28 and moved to the Pathein Prison. Hla Myat Thway represented Yay Kyi Township, first winning her seat in the 2012 by-election. She was re-elected in the 2015 and 2020 elections.
KAREN—The Chairperson of the Karen National Union (KNU), General Saw Mutu Say Poe, said that Burma’s constitution needs to be changed to become a federal democracy that guarantees freedom, justice, equality and self-determination to all. He made these remarks during an event commemorating the 74th Karen Revolution Day on Jan. 31. The KNU General Saw Mutu Say Poe urged the people to ensure the victory of the Karen Revolution by fighting together rather than individually.
TANINTHARYI—The regime’s Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) announced that 16 people in Tanintharyi Region were arrested with 3.7 million methamphetamine tablets in January. “Many people sell drugs but arrests are not increasing. Some people are able to sell drugs because they bribe government staff so they will be quickly released if they get arrested,” a resident of Myeik town said. Of the 16, ten were arrested in Myeik, three in Kawthaung, and three in Dawei.
YANGON—Four administrators were injured after a grenade attack on an administration office in Dagon Seikkan Township on Jan. 30. “We heard an explosion and five gunshots. Then, ambulances and military vehicles arrived at the scene,” a local said. A source close to the township administration reported that the four are in critical condition at the hospital.
The regime’s education staff in Dala Township threatened to take action against students’ parents if their children boycott classes and participate in a ‘Silent Strike’ to mark the anniversary of the military coup on Feb. 1. In addition, shop owners in the township have also been pressured by authorities to open their shops on that day. The ‘Silent Strike’ will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, on Feb. 1, 2023. Pro-democracy groups, including human rights activists, call on the public to stay home on strike – and not to go outside – to show the world they don’t support the coup regime, if they can do so safely and without notice of regime authorities.