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Rohingya activists accuse AA of rights abuses, EU reaffirms opposition to death penalty


Rohingya activists accuse the Arakan Army of rights abuses against Rohingya

The European Rohingya Council (ERC) accused the Arakan Army (AA) of committing “atrocious crimes” against the Rohingya community in northern Rakhine State on Oct. 10. This statement claimed that both the AA and the Burma Army have deliberately targeted Rohingya villages and civilians. The ERC stated that an AA sniper killed 48-year-old Sheikul Islam, a prominent Rohingya teacher and relative of human rights activist Wai Wai Nu. “Besides widespread arbitrary arrests, abductions and extortions, there are serious allegations and crimes of sexual abuses and rapes that Arakan Army has committed against Rohingya women and girls before and after the fighting erupted between the two armed groups,” the ERC claimed. The Netherlands-based ERC called on the international community to protect the Rohingya, who have faced genocide at the hands of the Burma Army, in Rakhine State. The AA has recently claimed that it seeks to build a more inclusive society in Rakhine. 

The European Union reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty

The European Union (EU) in Burma reaffirmed its opposition to capital punishment, calling it “a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment violating the right to life” on Oct. 10, the World and Europe Day Against the Death Penalty. The EU condemned the executions of Phyo Zeya Thaw, Ko Jimmy, Aung Thura Zaw and Hla Myo Aung carried out by the junta on July 23, 2022 – a day of infamy as Burma ended its 34-year moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The EU stated these unlawful executions contributed to the further dismantling of the rule of law in Burma. The country is now one of 18 worldwide that carries out executions against the global trend of ending the death penalty, according to the EU. 

News by Region

CHIN—A Hakha city police officer defected to the Chinland Defense Force (CDF) Santhang on Oct. 8, the CDF announced. The group said the officer was awarded K10 million ($4,760 USD) and is now in a “safe place.” 

KAREN—The Karen National Union’s KNU-Mutraw News issued a statement on Oct. 8 claiming that a civilian was killed by the Burma Army near Tane village, in the KNU’s Brigade 5 territory of Mutraw District in Hpapun Township.  The statement said the death occurred on Oct. 7. The victim is reported to be a 43-year-old man. 

KACHIN—A police officer was killed by an unidentified gunman in Hpakant town on Oct. 10. “He was shot dead near a restaurant…I don’t know which group conducted the attack,” a local told DVB. A narcotics police officer was killed in the town last month.

MANDALAY—An administrator was shot dead in Maha Aung Myay Township on Oct. 10. The 56-year-old administrator was killed by three unidentified armed men in a car.  Locals also said that the admin was the one who shot the protester Thu Thu Zin during an anti-coup protest last year, but DVB has not been able to verify these claims.

RAKHINE—The Arakan Army (AA) attacked and captured a border guard post controlled by the Burma Army in Maungdaw Township on Oct. 10. “It was part of an offensive and was occupied [by the AA] in the early morning. I don’t know the number of casualties yet. There are around 70 border guard troops stationed at the camp. The camp was set on fire,” a source close to the AA told DVB. 

SHAN—The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) aims to reduce “misunderstandings” between armed groups and find political solutions to problems “for the benefit of the public and the country.” It has offered to hold a meeting between all Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO) in Shan State. Following the 2021 coup, the RCSS engaged in conflict with the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP), and attended junta leader Min Aung Hlaing’s “peace talks” in Naypyidaw.

TANINTHARYI—The Launglone People’s Defense Force (PDF) reported that the PDF and its allies killed a Pyu Saw Hti member and a drug dealer in Maung Ma Kan Village of Launglone Township on Oct. 9. In the attack, the group claimed it seized a firearm, along with K1.4 million (US$670). 

DVB Picks—Al Jazeera English’s People and Power television program documents the life of a Kachin People’s Defense Force (KPDF) fighter on the frontlines of the resistance to military rule. DVB Picks selects and recommends the best documentaries on Burma in the English language every week. Stay tuned!


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