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One-third of population in need of humanitarian aid; Supreme Court dismisses Aung San Suu Kyi appeal

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

One-third of population in need of humanitarian aid

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) stated on Dec. 18 that 18.6 million people, or one-third of the entire population of Burma, are currently in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. 

“Children are bearing the brunt of the crisis with six million children in need as a result of displacement, interrupted health care and education, food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, the U.N. interim humanitarian coordinator for Burma. 

The U.N. stated that violence is expected to get worse in 2024 as the conflict spreads to more areas of the country. It went on to condemn the “systematic military violence against civilians.” The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide now exceeds two million. 

Supreme Court dismisses Aung San Suu Kyi corruption appeal

The Supreme Court in Naypyidaw rejected Aung San Suu Kyi’s special appeal on her corruption conviction Dec. 18, a legal official told the AP on the condition of anonymity. 

As State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi is alleged to have received $600,000 USD and seven gold bars as a bribe in 2017-18 from her colleague, the former Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein.  

Suu Kyi, 78, was arrested during the military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. She was sentenced to 33-years in a military court on charges of corruption, election fraud, and for violating the Official Secrets Act. Her sentence was reduced to 27 years in August. Shei has been unable to meet with her lawyers since December 2022. 

US and Cambodia discuss Burma

The U.S. and Cambodia have engaged in talks which aim to find a resolution for the ongoing crisis in Burma, the Phnom Penh Post reported. Cambodian officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sok Chenda Sophea, met with U.S. state department officials in Phnom Penh on Dec. 14. 

“The talks included topics like the crisis in Myanmar and how we can work together to restore that country to a path to democracy and stop the violence and also ensure that we can continue to work with ASEAN in a positive fashion,” said Melissa Brown, the deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of State. 

News by Region

Hsenwi residents displaced from fighting leave for Lashio, the largest town in northern Shan State. (Credit: DVB)

SHAN—Around 1,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Hsenwi Township left a temporary shelter, set up at a monastery to house them, for Lashio due to a shortage of food and inadequate living conditions, according to volunteers assisting the IDPs.

Over 3,000 IDPs originally sought shelter at the monastery from fighting between the military and the Brotherhood Alliance. “One thousand IDPs needed food but the roads were also closed and the bridges were broken. So it was not possible to transport food for them,” a volunteer told DVB.  

Hsenwi Township residents told SHAN News that the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) held a meeting with the heads of local villages on Dec. 16 to facilitate and resume commerce. It ordered a list of doctors, teachers, and people with internet access. 

A complaints mechanism was set up to report if MNDAA troops misbehaved. Residents were warned not to use drugs or they could be forcefully recruited. In Pansei, residents said the MNDAA began a population census and is recruiting both male and females over the age of 15. Half of the population of Hsenwi are now IDPs. Internet service has been unavailable since late October.   

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) stated that a man was killed and three others were injured after the military attacked Yanbye Town with its air force, infantry and navy on Dec. 18. The attack occurred during fighting near Aung Chan Tha pagoda. Four soldiers were killed and nine were arrested. The AA claimed it seized weapons and ammunition. 

CHIN—The Matupi Township People’s Administration said four civilians were killed, one was injured, and homes were destroyed in retaliatory airstrikes in Vankaing village of Matupi Township on Dec. 18. 

“The airstrike was carried out in the afternoon. Four people between the ages 53 to 78 were killed. One injured man is an internally displaced person sheltering for a year in the village,” said an administration official. 

Chin resistance forces attacked the Htanbway military outpost, located between Matupi and Paletwa townships, earlier on Dec. 18. Vankaing village is located three miles (4.8 km) from the fighting. 

KACHIN—Bhamo residents said a child and a woman were killed and at least four were injured by artillery in Maingkar and Moesein village of Bhamo Township on Dec. 18. “The [military] started shelling the west bank of Ayeyarwaddy river on that evening and causing civilians’ casualties from the villages,” said a Bhamo resident. 

Around 3,000 residents fled Shwe Nyaung Pin village tract of Waingmaw Township to Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, during fighting between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA/KIO) and the military on Dec. 18. 

Watch this video from Axel Springer Academy on DVB reporter Aung Kyaw. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads, & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube.

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