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National Unity Government ministers visit South Korea; India urged not to repatriate refugees from Burma

National Unity Government ministers visit South Korea

The National Unity Government (NUG) Foreign Affairs Minister Zin Mar Aung and Planning, Finance, and Investment Minister Tin Tun Naing, attended the 44th anniversary of the Gwangju Uprising for democracy in Gwangju, South Korea on May 18. 

The event took place at the May 18th National Cemetery to commemorate the thousands of South Koreans killed by the military during a crackdown on pro-democracy protests after the coup led by Chun Doo-hwan on May 17, 1980. 

May 18, 1980 was a pivotal moment in South Korea’s struggle for democracy. President Yoon Seok Yeol, members of parliament, as well as leaders of Korean civil society, were in attendance.

Thailand requested to grant status to refugees

Human rights organization Fortify Rights called on the Thai government to give legal status to refugees from Burma and to reform its immigration law. It accused the Thai army of forcibly pushing back 650 refugees in Mae Sot to Myawaddy, Karen State, during fighting there on April 24. 

“By providing refugees with legal status, Thailand would not only meet its obligations under international law but also strengthen the rule of law and security,” said Amy Smith, the executive director at Fortify Rights.

Smith added that refugees will continue to seek refuge in Thailand due to targeting of civilians by the military in Burma. Fortify Rights also requested that Thai authorities improve the conditions at the temporary shelters where it houses refugees that have fled the fighting.

India urged not to repatriate refugees

The NUG and international organizations have called on India not to repatriate the 5,801 refugees from Burma. Manipur State Chief Minister N Biren Singh stated that 38 refugees were sent back on May 2 and the remaining will be repatriated when authorities deem it safe to return.

The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the NUG has requested India provide temporary shelter and necessary assistance to the refugees. “We urge humane treatment and care for the refugees,” said Aung Myo Min, the NUG Human Rights Minister.

At least 5,500 refugees in Manipur State claimed that Indian officials have collected data on them and fear it may be shared with Naypyidaw. “We are most worried about the collection of biometrics and the possibility that the [regime] will use this data,” said Salai Dokhar, spokesperson of the civil society group India For Myanmar. 

Weekly Cartoon: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General and Special Envoy for Burma met with Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on May 15.

News by Region

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) stated that it seized control of Buthidaung on Saturday after taking control of the remaining military outposts. It seized Artillery Battalion 378 and Light Infantry Battalions (LIB) 234, 345, 352 on May 18. The AA claimed that it is currently searching for any remaining Burma Army troops. It now controls 10 towns in Arakan State and Paletwa in southern Chinland. 

KACHIN—Myitkyina residents said one civilian was killed and five were injured by artillery attack during fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burma Army in Pammati ward of Myitkyina town on Saturday. “The military’s Nampong Air Force base was attacked by rockets. The military returned fire with artillery. I don’t know which one fired the shells but it dropped inside the ward,” said a Pammati resident. 

MAGWAY—The People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that it had seized a fire station and a private bank in Myaing town after fighting between it and the Burma Army took place on Friday. “The resistance forces in Pakokku and Gangaw districts are strong,” said a politician in Magway on the condition of anonymity. More than 100 civilians, including political activists, have been arrested in Myaing since the 2021 military coup.  

SHAN—Four people, including children, were killed by artillery that landed on two homes in Nawnghkio Township on May 16. “The heavy shell dropped on the houses at night,” a resident told DVB. The Burma Army launched retaliatory strikes after its outpost, which is located near the demarcation of Shan State and Mandalay Region, was seized by the PDF on May 15.

Watch: The Tug of War in Kachin State. DVB English News is on X, Fcaebook, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Find and follow us on YouTube Music (app).

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