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The end of the settlement: Yangon squat clearances uproot thousands

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A life’s worth of possessions are stacked in a heap on the ground. The owner of the ragged parcels, U Maw, looks in the other direction, at an imposing pile of timber that once was his home.

Yesterday morning, as soldiers looked on—fingers aching towards their triggers—U Maw had been forced to destroy what he once built on this land by his own labor. Around him, neighboring families had been ordered to deconstruct their homes, piece by piece, by themselves.

“We have no choice but to destroy the things that we built with our own hands. Otherwise the soldiers will destroy everything, and that will make everything useless,” U Maw said, despairingly.

On October 25, the Township General Administration Department of the Southern District of Yangon ordered the removal of businesses and settlements beside the Dagon-Thilawa Road. Three days later, approximately 100 people, including municipal leaders and armed security forces, arrived at the site, ready to perform a total clearance.

The eviction ran from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., soldiers ripping apart the settlement’s famous dry food stores, slowly tearing down every obstacle in their path until they reached Kalawal village on the banks of the Bago River.

The morning of October 28 was an historic tragedy which had been long-delayed for Yangon’s squatters, an understated humanitarian disaster in Burma’s most developed urban area.

Whilst troops were beginning the destruction of Thanlyin’s settlements, a similar scene was already underway on the other side of town. 

To the north, in Hlaingtharyar, security forces had earlier closed the two arterial Bayintnaung Bridges that connect the township to central Yangon, leading to a huge backlog of trucks and cars blocking roads into Hlaing.

“There are between 7,000 and 8,000 squatters along the Yangon-Pathein highway, and half of them are moving this morning as a force of soldiers, police, members of YCDC [Yangon City Development Committee], and plainclothes security forces have arrived,” said a local man supporting the squatters. 

Military trucks entered Hlaingtharyar at around 6.30 a.m. yesterday morning, in tow: two bulldozers and some expectant prison vans.

“On seeing the convoy, some took their belongings; some even took pieces of their home,” the local man said.

“However, most of those moving were the wealthier few whose businesses had been doing alright; the working class residents didn’t leave. When I asked them what they would do, they said that they’d have to settle another empty plot because they’re unable to afford rent, and have nobody to go to for help,” he said.

The settlers from both sides of Yangon were moving following an ultimatum delivered by the military just three days previously. 

Settlements being torn down in Hlaingtharyar, north Yangon, yesterday

Despite the settlements hosting both homes and well-established small businesses for decades, the junta announced on October 25 that it was to demolish all homes. On the day of the announcement, 70 people were taken into temporary custody in Hlaingtharyar after protesting the order.

When troops returned, resistance was muted. 

“​​I believe the police and military had guns, most were threatened with detainment if they didn’t comply… Though it seems they are willing to do worse,” said one foreign social worker who had arranged transport for those fleeing the clearances.

“We had a small team […] taking lists of those who wanted to go to their hometowns and those who wanted to be moved to another location. However the volume is much much larger than we anticipated, originally we were told 100-150 people, then 1000-2000. Now there is a possibility of 20,000 in total, according to a contact.”

She told DVB that, due to the presence of troops, it had been too dangerous to transport those leaving yesterday. Her group will now ferry settlers today and into the weekend, “before the Tatmadaw burns everything”.

Whilst soldiers intimated those in Hlaingtharyar, a similar scene was unfolding in Thanlyin.

“The soldiers ordered us to sign an eviction notice, if not they said they will shoot us,” U Maw said.  

“Nobody dares to go against them as they carry weapons. I just had to watch them tear down the tents with bulldozers,” he added. 

 “They didn’t want anyone to take photos of the eviction, and it is still going on,” added a local Red Cross Society member. 

The Dagon-Thilawa Road settlements, Thanlyin, before the clearance

Like U Maw, a majority of the squatters with no place to go have congregated by the side of the road, watching others depart.

Established by the SLORC in 1998 as a resettlement for 300,000 migratory inhabitants of Yangon’s Downtown area, the settlements on the Yangon-Pathein Road also hosted thousands of people who fled the Ayeyarwady delta region following 2008’s Cyclone Nargis.

Under the NLD government, more than 250,000 squatter households had been issued resident certificates for Yangon Region, and plans were well underway to allow them to eventually get access to low-income housing.

Similarly, over 200 households have been located beside the No.2 Thanlyin Road for almost a decade, many of whom run small businesses; over 50 well-known dry food stores, fuel shops, and tea, coffee, and palm wine sellers lined the road, a source of both shelter and sustenance for local farm laborers from the surrounding fields of Thanlyin. Residents had made an agreement with Hluttaw representatives that they believed allowed them to stay.

Only now, with a dominant and unaccountable military rule over the land—held in the name of the state and military-backed landowners—have clearances become a reality.  

“Now it is all gone. They cut down the foundations of homes and destroyed everything: the place is empty now. Some people who have no place to go, like us, are sitting by the road with their belongings. I don’t know what to do,” said U Hla Htay, one of those now searching for a new beginning.

Pro-military rallies once again bolstered with paid stooges, witnesses say

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Two independent sources confirmed yesterday that a majority of recent pro-military protestors in a number of towns were paid by the military to attend rallies that were held on Monday. 

On October 25, pro-military rallies took place close to military bases in towns including Myitkyina and Putao in Kachin, in Pyin Oo Lwin, Madara, and Meiktila in Mandalay, as well as in Yangon, Naypyidaw, Lashio, Pathein, and Mawlamyine.

The protests come as tensions festering between those for and against Burma’s military institution have spilled out into open warfare, and when the eyes of Southeast Asia have fallen back upon Burma following the start of the ASEAN Summit.

One source, who preferred to remain anonymous to preserve the contingency of his activism work, said that, between 7 and 9 a.m., protests erupted in Aye Mya Tharyar ward and Panmatti village in Myitkyina. He says that the majority of protestors, if not all, were paid anywhere from K5,000 to K10,000 (US$2.8 – 5.6).

“It’s estimated that around 300 participated in the march, but bystanders dared not say anything, because it was held inside the military headquarters,” he said. “They chanted the slogans: ‘We don’t need UN support, who supports OIC,’ ‘We don’t want ASEAN,’ ‘Oppose the NUG and CRPH rioters, ‘oppose PDF, and ‘Myanmar military is our army.’”

In Kachin, the anonymous activist says the junta also played on ethnic tensions to bolster their numbers, noting that protests also consisted of those from Lisu and Shanni groups (some of whose leaders are strongly sympathetic to the military), Ma Ba Tha, the ultra-orthodox Buddhist group, and families of military personnel, who he says were ordered to attend. He added that this is not the first time the military has played on the tensions between the Lisu and Shanni People’s Army and the local Kachin Independence Army. 

“They have a feeling about the KIA, as they got arrested by the KIA and accused the KIA of asking for money,” the anonymous activist said. “By using those feelings, the Tatmadaw formed the Shanni People’s Army and Lisu People’s Army.”

Similar trends were reported in Pathein, where three-day rallies slowly garnered participants from October 25 to 27, peaking at 90 people on the second day, but falling to a mere 40 by October 27. 

Human rights activist U Tun Tun Oo reported that the majority of protestors in Pathein were recruited from the working class and poorer wards, with some offered up to K15,000 to participate. Despite trying to keep a safe distance from the protests himself, the activist says he could verify this through being in constant communication with those with pro-military allies.

“They are protesting, but look insecure. The pro-military protesters in Pathein were clearly either people who were out of money, informants (dalan), or members of the army. There really are not many people who support the military,” he said, echoing the theory that the protests were orchestrated to demonstrate alleged military support.

“In addition, these pro-military protests came across the country after the ASEAN’s meeting, which did not invite the junta leader to attend the summit,” he said, noting the suspicious trend of pro-military rallies appearing at times that the military feels insecure. 

Another anonymous source said that the military had used a similar tactic in other regions, paying up to K10,000 to people—largely those with low education and literacy levels—that soldiers had gathered.

Such bribery is certainly not a new tactic, and is reminiscent of junta-backed protests immediately following the coup, where protestors admitted to participating for between K2,000 and K10,000. After protests in many towns turned lethal, many others said that they had received orders, and in some cases weaponry, to cause violence towards pro-democracy protesters.

Appeal for Action

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OxyFeature

As editor in chief of one of the few remaining independent media organizations, we collect, check and spread the news about Burma. Through various credible contacts inside the military-ruled country, I receive heartbreaking messages about Covid-19 every day, which I think the international community ought to react to as an immediate urgency. One might ask why so alarming as every country around the world is facing the Covid-19 pandemic, but the case in Burma is different.

News of the deaths of close family, of best friends, of relatives, is no longer considered news at all. Loved ones failing in their desperate attempts to find oxygen, similarly, is no longer news. Families spending household savings to purchase faulty concentrators or overpriced and ineffective medicines; no longer news. The hundreds of deceased being cremated daily, the dark smoke of death lingering over Yangon both day and night; not news. The virus has spread across all layers of Burma’s society, indiscriminate and ruthless. Even the last of the frontline medical workers, not yet persecuted by the junta, are falling prey to Covid-19.

Since February’s coup, state hospitals will not admit a patient without “status” or a “connection” to the military nexus: even officers and their families have been denied treatment on arrival. Out of lack of resources or fear of reprisals, private hospitals have chosen to ignore the majority of patients, those lucky enough to find a bed have only been admitted under the proviso they bring their own supply of oxygen. As a result, people of all degrees of wealth, rank, and status have resorted to treating loved ones at home, with whatever medicine and equipment they can obtain, out of pure necessity.

Desperate for a cure, the Burmese people turned to Facebook for ‘magic solutions’. Social media is ablaze with all kinds of witchcraft and quackery, with endless posts containing well-repeated hearsay on topics ranging from techniques to save a life, to methods of increasing bodily oxygen levels, or potions that, once ingested, will certainly, remove the coronavirus. It is in no way strange to read such advice as inhaling the fumes of a hair-dryer to boost oxygen levels or to chew raw onion (three times a day) whilst absorbing the virus nullifying heat into one’s lungs.

We have tried hard to dispel these myths through our work, releasing broadcasts countering popular misconceptions and interviewing medical professionals to improve access to useful and correct knowledge. The examples above may sound preposterous to outsiders, but millions of Burmese, out of hope and desperate, have found refuge in such information.

Importantly, Burma has reached a point of total nihilism with regard to coronavirus facts and figures. The junta lacks the bandwidth, and certainly the motive, to promote data that in any way resembles realities on the ground. We receive anecdotal data from burial grounds, funeral services, and organizations thanklessly working to contain the outbreak. But, similarly, all this provides is rumour and numbers. The hard fact is that every single day, the news of many more dead and infected reaches us through the experiences of our households, our relatives, and our friends. And this news is always the most immediate. The experience of being so perpetually surrounded by death is hard to convey.

The whole world is vocally struggling to curb the spread of Covid-19. But, in the case of Burma, the people have been made voiceless. Our experience tells us that the military regime is either intentionally removing the last lifelines of help available to the Burmese people to quell challenges to their rule, or is woefully lacking in will and capacity to manage a crisis of their proportion. Before the February coup, Yangon had close to 20 well-functioning Covid-19 treatment centers. Now there are four, all essentially being left to fail, turning back almost all those who need life-saving attention. The military, whose targeting of medical professionals is well documented, has cornered itself. Instead of building emergency treatment centers and field hospitals, the regime is investing heavily in crematoriums.

Very soon, they recently announced, Yangon’s funeral pyres will have the capacity to cremate 3,000 corpses a day.

Burma needs immediate humanitarian intervention from the international community more than any time before. Burma desperately needs your attention and help now.

Aye Chan Naing

Chief Editor (DVB)

1st August 2021

Photos – MPA

How Retailers Can Cut Emissions

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When you need your company to have a new website or if you venture on updating your old webpage with a new look and functionality, the choices are versatile. Assuming that you will go the easy way and choose a theme for your WordPress website, the overall number of characteristics that you will need to keep in mind narrows down significantly.

All the WordPress themes that we have here have had a vast team of professional designers sketching, working and executing the ultimate visual look for it. With such a wide range of choices at hand, we strongly advise you to stick to the WordPress Theme that is based on your business’ or a closely related field.

I’m as proud of many of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done.EMMA DOE, Company CEO

When you need your company to have a new website or if you venture on updating your old webpage with a new look and functionality, the choices are versatile. Assuming that you will go the easy way and choose a theme for your WordPress website, the overall number of characteristics that you will need to keep in mind narrows down significantly. Often searching out the graphical symmetry in chaos, while still maintaining the personality and emotion of the subject. The excitement and anticipation as we waited to see the next piece of unpredictable chaos was electric.

A New Burma ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ building community

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FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Creative arts collective A New Burma held its second annual event ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ at RX Cafe in Chiang Mai, Thailand Feb. 22-24. It featured an art exhibit, film screenings, a food and crafts market, and it culminated with a concert.

NUG claims 104 health workers killed since 2021 coup; Calls for UN to step in to protect Rohingya in Arakan State

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The Arakan Army claimed a hospital was destroyed in an airstrike in Minbya Township of Arakan State on Feb. 27. (Credit: AA)

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

NUG claims 104 health workers killed since 2021 coup

The National Unity Government (NUG) stated that 104 health care workers have been killed and 308 hospitals and clinics have been destroyed by the military since the 2021 coup. Health care workers and medical centers have been attacked more than 1,200 times, added the NUG. 

“It has been found that the military council have been conducting terrorist attacks repeatedly and brutally, deliberately targeting the health sector and innocent civilians,” said an NUG statement. 

Hospitals in Minbya and Ramree townships of Arakan State were destroyed by military airstrikes in February, according to the Arakan Army (AA). The NUG accused the military of violating international law, including the Geneva Convention, for targeting hospitals. 

Calls for UN to step in to protect Rohingya in Arakan State

Twenty-eight civil society groups issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling on the U.N. Security Council to take action to prevent continued human rights abuses committed by the military against the 600,000 Rohingya in Arakan State. 

“Despite the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice, the military junta continues to shell Rohingya villages, resulting in deaths, injuries, and the destruction of property,” said Nay San Lwin, the co-founder of Free Rohingya Coalition and a signatory to the statement.

Unconfirmed reports have stated that Rohingya are being forcefully recruited by the military in Arakan State. The statement accused the regime of doing this to reignite ethnic tension with the Rakhine. They called on the U.K. government to convene a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss how to protect the Rohingya community inside Burma.

Burma nationals third highest spenders on properties in Thailand

Data from Thailand’s Government Housing Bank’s Real Estate Information Centre (REIC) states that Burma nationals spent 2.25 billion Thai baht ($62.47 million USD) on properties in Thailand. Only Russian and Chinese nationals spent more on real estate in Thailand. 

“It’s notable that properties bought by Myanmar nationals have an average price of 6.5 million baht [$180,480 USD], higher than those of Chinese or Russian buyers,” said Karlo Pobre, the deputy managing director of REIC, to The Nation.

Wealthy Burmese mainly purchased luxury properties in Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. The Thai embassy in Yangon states that more than 7,000 Burma nationals have applied for visas to Thailand following the Feb. 10 announcement of the military conscription law. 

News by Region

Students learn on computers at a makeshift school in Karenni State. (Credit: CJ)

KARENNI—The Karenni Army (KA) and the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force (KNDF) said that it will welcome people from across Burma who want to avoid military conscription. 

“We understand that many young people are opposed to the military. If they come to our area, we welcome them. They can play a part in this revolution,” said Phone Naing, the leader of the Karenni Army. 

“There are opportunities for employment, such as running a shop, or contributing to the health and education sectors,” said Tint Zaw Hein, the spokesperson for an aid group assisting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).  

KAREN—The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and People’s Defense Force (PDF) claimed that nine of its members have been killed during fighting in Kawkareik since Dec. 1. It added that 30 Burma Army troops were killed and 14 surrendered. 

The KNLA and PDF stated that it controls over 60 percent of Kawkareik. Most civilian homes in the town have been destroyed. Many weapons have been reportedly seized from the Burma Army.

BAGO—The families of political prisoners said that at least 30 have been killed during interrogation in Bago Region’s prisons since 2021. At least 19 of the political prisoners are from Paungde, six from Shwedaung, five from Nattalin, and one from Okpho townships.

The majority of the deaths occurred at the end of 2023 and the beginning of this year. Family members have been hesitant to speak out in fear of arrest. Prison authorities have recently informed relatives of the political prisoners’ deaths and have yet to return the bodies. 

SAGAING—The Burma Army accused the PDF of abducting 285 students and education workers during fighting at Kalay University on Monday, regime media reported. The NUG claimed that the PDF rescued 140 of them. 

“The military used the teachers and students as cover during the fighting, so our PDF saved them. They are now in safe places,” said Maung Maung Swe, the deputy secretary at the NUG Ministry of Defense. Fighting between the Burma Army and the PDF in Kalay Township started in February. 

YANGON—Over 100 youths on buses traveling to Arakan State were detained by the Burma Army at a checkpoint in Shwepyitha Township on Feb. 20. Some were released after being interrogated for one week, but they were prohibited from continuing the journey to Arakan.

“They are barred from going back to their villages, leaving the rest of their families anxious about their well-being,” a mother, whose daughter was among those recently released from detention, told DVB. Most of those released from detention were women. The location and number of those still being detained remains unknown.

Free Burma Rangers Director David Eubank speaks to DVB in Karenni State. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow our Podcast.

Shan people refusing conscription by Shan State armed group

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The Restoration Council of Shan State held a ceremony commemorating Shan National Day in 2016. (Credit: DVB)

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Human rights activists told DVB that Shan people are refusing to be conscripted into the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), an Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) based in southern Shan State. 

The RCSS announced its own conscription law on Feb. 19 – nine days after Naypyidaw enforced military conscription nationwide for all men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27. 

The regime law, drafted in 2010 under the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), states that those eligible must serve two years in the military or face a maximum punishment of up to five years in prison.

The RCSS drafted its conscription law in 1996. It requires men and women in Shan State aged 18 to 45 to serve up to six years. But it did not clarify what the punishment is for those who avoid conscription. 

“[RCSS] should oppose the regime’s conscription law rather than announcing its own law,” said a Shan activist on the condition of anonymity. “As a young man, I would not hesitate to serve in the [RCSS], but is it to fight against the regime or to attack the public who is resisting the regime?”

Kham San, the RCSS spokesperson, told DVB that it will seize properties of those residing in RCSS territory who leave to avoid conscription. Land that has not had occupants for three or more years will also be seized. 

The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) party General Secretary Sai Leik said that it is not a good time for the RCSS to enforce its conscription and property laws due to the nationwide crisis caused by the 2021 military coup.

The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA), another EAO based in Shan State, invited Shan people to serve in its armed wing – rather than announcing enforced conscription – last week. 

Myanmar’s Shan State borders China, Laos and Thailand. Besides the two Shan EAOs, Shan State is home to the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), which signed a ceasefire with the regime on Jan. 11. 

Shan State media reports that all EAOs in the region are now competing with the military regime in Naypyidaw to conscript new recruits in the coming months.  

Military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told regime media on Feb. 21 that women will not be conscripted. The RCSS signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in 2015 and has met for talks with the regime in Naypyidaw since the 2021 military coup.

Memorial held in Thailand for activists killed in Bago Region; ISP Myanmar documents regime ‘instability’

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A memorial for Noble Aye and Aung Ko Hein at a Buddhist monastery in Mae Sot, Thailand on Feb. 26. (Credit: DVB)

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Memorial held in Thailand for activists killed in Bago Region

A memorial service for pro-democracy activist Noble Aye and People’s Defense Force (PDF) member Aung Ko Hein was conducted at a Buddhist monastery in Mae Sot, Thailand on Feb. 26. The two were killed on Feb. 8 in Waw Township, Bago Region. They had been arrested together at a military checkpoint on Jan. 29.

“This event was held to honor the memory of all those who have bravely fought in the revolution, including my sister, who were mercilessly killed by the military regime. We aim to ensure that their voices and sacrifices are not forgotten,” said Htet Myat, Noble Aye’s brother. 

Donations were made during the event. Noble Aye’s fight for democracy in Burma began during student protests in 1996 against a previous military regime. She was also involved in the 2007 Saffron Revolution and the 2021 anti-coup protests, which have become known as the Spring Revolution.  

ISP Myanmar documents regime ‘instability’ 

The Institute for Strategy and Policy (ISP Myanmar) states that 152 senior regime officials have resigned or have been appointed to new positions in cabinet reshuffles since the 2021 military coup. Only eight of the 33 ministers appointed by the regime in 2021 remain in their original posts.

It added that the level of turnover indicates “instability” within the regime, surpassing changes that occurred during the previous National League for Democracy (NLD) and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) administrations.

The Ministry of the Union Government Office faced eight personnel changes under the regime. The Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Hotels and Travel, Ministry of Labor, Union Civil Service Organization, and the Anti-Corruption Commission also underwent significant restructuring, according to ISP Myanmar.

Thai diplomat calls for India’s assistance on Burma

On a visit to New Delhi on Monday, Thailand’s Vice Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow said that his country and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work with India to help solve Burma’s crisis, the Hindustan Times reported

“In the end, all of us have to pitch in to help Myanmar return to the path of peace and democracy. We would like to work with India, in partnership, on the question of Myanmar,” added Sihasak Phuangketkeow.

The Thai diplomat criticized the ASEAN principle of non-interference, saying that the policy should not be used as a “blank cheque to do whatever you want against your people.” Both India and Thailand border Burma and have seen an influx of refugees since the 2021 coup. 

News by Region

Free Burma Rangers director David Eubank in Karenni State on Feb. 22 (Credit: DVB)

KARENNI—The Free Burma Rangers (FBR) visited a village last Thursday in Demoso Township where four children were killed and nine were injured in an airstrike on Feb. 5. A school teacher told DVB that FBR provided medical treatment to the injured and entertainment for the local children.

“We’ve seen firsthand the destruction. The very first thing people need is security. Stop the jets from bombing us. Stop the artillery from shelling us. Stop the army from shooting us,” said David Eubank, the FBR director.

Eubank told DVB that FBR has been providing humanitarian assistance to Karenni Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) for 25 years. It has made six visits to the state since the 2021 coup to assist more than 350,000 IDPs.

KACHIN—Hpakant residents claimed that the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the PDF seized control of the No. 119 Light Infantry Battalion base and a police station Feb. 26-27. 

“The army fired heavy weapons. The locals have already fled,” a Hpakant resident told DVB. Another Burma Army base was seized by the KIA and PDF in the township on Feb. 20. The police station was reportedly burned down. 

KAREN—The Karen National Union (KNU) claimed on Feb. 27 that it has taken control of sections of the Asian Highway from the Burma Army and plans to set up an administration in Kawkareik Township. 

The KNU added that control over the highway is “crucial” for its administration in Kawkareik. The National Unity Government (NUG) Southern Military Region stated that the KNU controls up to 60 percent of Kawkareik town.  

SAGAING—The Political Prisoners Network of Myanmar (PPNM) stated  that around 200 political prisoners, including 20 children, held at No. 1 Monywa Police Station are experiencing “human rights violations.” 

PPNM claimed that they have been held “illegally” for a year without trial and that about 150 are facing charges for criminal offenses. It added that they are being deprived of basic human rights, including the right to life and protection from torture, and are living in “a state of constant fear.”

Watch our interview: Igor Blazevic on Myanmar’s Spring Revolution. DVB English News is on X, Facebook, Instagram, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe on YouTube. Follow our Podcast.

Igor Blazevic on Myanmar’s Spring Revolution

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FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Pro-democracy activist Igor Blazevic, the program director at the Prague Civil Society Center, joins DVB Interview host Yamin Myat Aye to discuss the progress of Myanmar’s Spring Revolution, which began in response to the 2021 military coup.

NUG Ambassador to receive award; Humanitarian aid into Burma from Thailand to begin in March

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NUG Foreign Minister Zin Mar Aung with Linn Thant and Czech parliamentarian Hayato Okamura in Prague in 2022. (Credit: Linn Thant)

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

NUG Ambassador to receive award

Irish news agency Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat awarded Linn Thant, the National Unity Government (NUG) Ambassador to the Czech Republic, with the “Diplomatic Service Medal with Honours” for his involvement with Burma’s pro-democracy movement.

“Ambassador Thant has demonstrated the power of ideas to transform the world and has done Europe a service by inviting it to participate along with the NUG in creating a renewed, stable, peaceful and prosperous democratic future,” said Miceál O’Hurley, the editor-in-chief at Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat. 

Linn Thant will accept the award in Ireland. He has lived in Prague since applying and receiving political asylum in the Czech Republic in 2011. He was appointed the NUG Ambassador to the Czech Republic on April 24, 2021.

Humanitarian aid into Burma from Thailand to begin in March

Thailand’s Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-nukara said that the delivery of cross-border humanitarian aid into Burma is expected to begin in March, ThaiPBS reported

“Hopefully, the humanitarian assistance initiative, if successfully carried out, should help bring about trust among the conflicting parties to the point that they will be willing to sit down for a dialogue,” he said.

The Thai and Myanmar Red Cross Society will oversee the delivery of food and medical supplies. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management will monitor aid deliveries. 

Bangladesh official accuses Naypyidaw of instigating conflict

The Director-General of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion police force, M Khurshid Hossain, accused Burma’s military of trying to provoke war between the neighboring countries, New Age Bangladesh reported.

“Myanmar is always instigating Bangladesh, starting with the intrusion of Rohingyas. The situation has, however, been handled due to the strong attitude of prime minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.

Hossain accused the military of using its conflict with the Arakan Army (AA) near the border of the two countries to “create trouble” for Bangladesh. A Rohingya man and a Bangladeshi woman were killed by a mortar shell fired from Burma in Bangladesh on Feb. 5.

Shan armed group leader denies trying to sell uranium

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA) leader Yawd Serk denied accusations that he tried to supply weapons-grade nuclear materials to alleged Yakuza leader Takeshi Ebisawa in 2021. 

“I said I have never known about it and will look into it. Because I know nothing about uranium material,” he told Shan media outlet Tai Freedom, which is affiliated with the RCSS, on Feb. 25. 

The denial came as the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Ebisawa for seeking to sell plutonium and uranium obtained from the RCSS to Iran. Ebisawa allegedly intended to use funds obtained from the sale to purchase weapons on behalf of the RCSS. 

News by Region

Internally Displaced Persons in southern Shan State seek refuge in a cave to escape from fighting between the PNLA and Burma Army. (Credit: CJ)

SHAN—The Pa-O Youth Organization stated that at least 33 civilians, including five children, were killed and 51 were injured by airstrikes and artillery during clashes between the Pa-O National Liberation Army (PNLA) and Burma Army in Hsihseng, Hopong, and Loilem townships  since Jan. 21. 

It added that more than 90,000 have become Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). “We need food and medicines. There are no more donors in the monasteries,” said an unnamed resident. The Pa-O Youth Organization added that 83 homes and 12 religious buildings were destroyed during the fighting. 

Charity group, Kan Lint Lan, stated that a man was killed and three others were injured after they accidentally activated a landmine in Naungpyit village of Kyaukme Township on Feb. 25. “Four workers, all men, loaded sugarcane into a truck beside the road. One was killed instantly and two of them seriously injured,” said a spokesperson from Kan Lint Lan. 

AYEYARWADY—A student in Pathein said that the Burma Army has been providing military training to university students in Ayeyarwady Region since early February. “The training is ongoing. It will last for one month and five days,” said the unnamed student. 

A source close to the University Training Corps said that the military is training students to serve for “emergency situations.” Education workers at universities across the country said that the military is planning to provide training to students in Yangon, Mandalay, and other cities. 

SAGAING—Six civilians, two People’s Defense Force (PDF) members, and at least five Burma Army soldiers, including a captain, have been killed during fighting between resistance forces  and the Burma Army.

The PDF claimed that resistance forces now control military outposts in Sekkant, Kangyi and Kantha villages near Kalay town on Feb. 23. “There are ongoing clashes on the ground and the situation is unstable,” said the PDF spokesperson. 

Check out our photo essay: A New Burma ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ in Chiang Mai. Subscribe to DVB English News YouTube. Follow our Podcast. We’re on X, FB. IG, Threads & TikTok.

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