Thursday, June 16, 2022

Thursday, June 16, 2022

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

ILO outlines bleak picture for Burma’s workers. The International Labor Organization (ILO) announced that 1.6 million workers have lost their jobs, and child labor has increased across Burma since the military coup last year. “The unstable political landscape and deteriorating economic situation in Myanmar have forced more and more families into poverty. In times of crisis, concerted efforts among all stakeholders are needed more than ever before to increase social protections to prevent and protect children from child labor in all forms,” Donglin Li, the ILO representative in Burma said. There are around 12 million children between the ages 5 and 17 in the country, and one in ten work as child labor, the ILO’s statement said. According to the announcement, children were found to be working in dangerous environments. To mark the World Day Against Child Labor on June 12, the ILO Myanmar called on those in industry “to accelerate multi-stakeholder efforts to prevent and eliminate child labor, with priority given to the worst forms of child labor.” | BURMESE

In addition, labor rights violations are occurring more frequently in factories since the military coup, workers have told DVB. Although employment contracts (EC) are mandatory under Burmese law for companies or factories with more than five employees, almost no contracts have been signed since the military’s takeover last year, according to workers in some of Yangon factories. “Even if we sign a contract, employers are still failing to provide benefits included in the contract. New recruits are not working under contracts. Some workers do not even know what an EC is,” a factory worker told DVB. Labor advocacy organizations have been weakened under the junta, leading to an increase in the abuse of workers. “Supervisory bodies are ignoring these violations of labor rights. No actions are taken. An EC is important if a workplace dispute occurs. Workers that do now know about signing ECs are in a weaker position,” a labor activist said. The International Labor Organization recently estimated that more than 1.6 million workers have lost their jobs nationwide since the military coup. | BURMESE

UK announces new sanctions aimed at hitting Russian aircraft supplies. The UK government today announced new sanctions on Burmese arms brokers and Russian aircraft part suppliers providing equipment to the Burmese military. The Burmese companies sanctioned are Synpex Shwe, Myanmar New Era Trading and Sky Aviator, while the Russian businesses Ural Avia, Sins Avia Trading House, and JSC Gorizont were targeted for providing aircraft parts to the military. The rights group Burma Campaign UK welcomed the move, yet called on the British government to sanction the Burmese aviation fuel industry. “Stopping the supply of aviation fuel to the Burmese military is the single most effective action that can be taken to address the humanitarian crisis caused by airstrikes against civilians. It must be prioritized for the next round of sanctions,” Anna Roberts, the Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK said. The move comes as Amnesty International, and the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand released reports detailing the military regime’s indiscriminate bombing campaigns across Burma. Activists Justice for Myanmar, who on Feb. 7 called on international governments to sanction New Era, also released a statement welcoming the move. 

Junta cannibalizes Yangon chiefs over Dala beach land sale. Three military-appointed authorities, including ministers from the Yangon Regional Government — Hla Soe, the former Prime Minister and Aung Than Oo, the former Economy Minister — have been formally charged under the Anti-Corruption Law, the junta’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) stated on June 16. Read more. | BURMESE

Junta repeats hanging threat after rumors of imminent executions spread. After rumors of an imminent hanging spread overnight, Zaw Min Tun today reaffirmed the junta’s commitment to executing democracy activists Ko Jimmy and Zeya Thaw. Ex-inmates of Insein Prison showed DVB the location of its recently refurbished gallows. Read more

News by Region

AYEYARWADY —The military cordoned off the house of a reporter in the town of Maubin on June 15. The reporter, Aung Mya Than, works for the Ayeyarwaddy Times. The military said it has filed charges against the journalist, and is actively pursuing him. “It was expected, and it finally happened today (June 15),” the reporter told DVB. The charges the regime has filed against him are currently unknown. Aung Mya Than has been imprisoned and released twice already since the coup. He said that he fled to an area controlled by resistance forces after being released from prison for a second time as he feared further arrests. | BURMESE

AYEYARWADY —More than 100 inmates of Maubin Prison were transferred to Myaungmya Prison on June 12, according to a source close to prison officials. Prisoners convicted under Sec. 505(a) of the Penal Code and CDM participants were among those transferred. “Prisoners who were about to be released were included, but most of them are political prisoners charged under Sec. 505(a),” the source told DVB. Family members expressed having difficulties meeting with imprisoned relatives due to the transfer. More than 200 people have been arrested in Maubin township in relation to anti-military activities since the coup. | BURMESE

MON —Three relatives of Aye Min Tun — a former top police investigator turned leader of a PDF battalion in KNU territory — were taken hostage by the military on June 14 in Kyu Chaung village, Kyaikto township, according to locals. Aye Min Tun’s mother, Naw Sap Ta Phu, brother, Kyaw Soe Aye, and sister, Khine Khine Aye, were arrested and their whereabouts is unknown. “We decided to fight against the junta, but we pledged not to harm relatives of junta members. Now the military is harming my family. I will wait to see what they do to my innocent mother, brother, and sister. I want them to know that every action has a consequence,” Aye Min Tun said. Aye Min Tun was a well-regarded police sergeant who spent 22 years in the force before joining the CDM and the PDF. He formerly provided security to deposed Mon State Chief Minister Dr Aye Zan under the NLD administration. He is said to be held in high esteem by those within the police community for his skills as a criminal investigator. | BURMESE

RAKHINE —A soldier inspecting the motorcycles of passersby in Ponnagyun township has been arrested by the Arakan Army (AA), Rakhine-based news outlet Narinjara reported. The soldier is from the military’s 550th LIB stationed in Ponnagyun and was handcuffed during his arrest near Aung Mingalar Lake at around 3 p.m. today. “He was alone during the arrest and moving to his battalion’s base after traveling into town when he was detained by AA,” a source told Narinjara. The EAO is said to have captured two soldiers in separate incidents, yet one managed to evade AA forces. Five gunshots were fired from the LIB 550 base after the soldiers were detained, according to locals. A 27-year-old resident of Ponnagyun said that markets in the town closed early and residents were afraid to go outside. “No one is on the roads, and everyone is staying inside their homes. The town is completely quiet,” he said. On June 11, the AA arrested two military personnel near Kyauktaw’s Myoma market. AA spokesman, Khaing Thukha, told a press conference on June 14 that the EAO had captured soldiers, including officers, as Burma Army troops had conducted nighttime raids of homes of suspected AA members, arresting civilians accused of having ties to the group over May and June. He told the army that the AA would return those detained in a prisoner swap.

S. SHAN —Snipers of the special operations team of the Central Region Taskforce killed an estimated 41 soldiers in May and June in areas across Hpruso and Pekon townships, the resistance group claimed yesterday. The group said that six soldiers were killed between May 16 and 18, nine on May 20, four on May 21, one on May 22, six on June 7, eight on June 10, and seven between June 11 and 12. The group said it carried out the attacks with allied forces. DVB is unable to independently verify the group’s claims, and the military has yet to acknowledge the casualties.

TANINTHARYI —Two civilians have been killed by the Sonye (Kite Forces) pro-military militia, one day after being captured by the group. Yan Paing Soe and Myo Ko were both residents of Ekani village in Yebyu township and their bodies were dumped near a bridge in neighboring Wet Chaung village following the pair’s arrest on the morning of June 15, according to locals. It is said that the logos of Sonye were left by the victim’s bodies, similar to other killings performed by pro-military militias. Sonye is one of dozens of pro-military armed groups that have recently been sponsored by the junta and its associates, and is mainly active in Tanintharyi Region. “[The victims] lived peacefully in their communities. I am sorry to hear that news,” a resident said. The motives for the assassinations are currently unknown. 

Sonye is said to have carried out several attacks against NLD supporters and anti-junta activists in the area on June 15 alone. The militia detonated IEDs at the home of NLD supporter Kyi Ngwe on the early morning of June 15, locals said. “The front of the house was destroyed by the attack. The family from the house are safe because they are already in hiding,” a local close to Kyi Ngwe said. The group also raided the home of former admin Myo Thein who had served under the NLD government. Myo Thein was not at his home during the raid, but his daughter was discovered bound up by the group, locals said. In May, there was a report that unidentified gunmen had attempted to kill a resident from Pugawzun village after pro-military groups accused them of providing support to PDFs, but the target evaded their attackers. Some villagers are said to have fled western Yebyu township due to threats from Sonye. Some pro-military militiamen have likewise been targeted in assassinations, and have fled the township. | BURMESE