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UN Human Rights Chief meets Burma refugees in Malaysia; Military prepares for women conscripts

UN Human Rights Chief meets Burma refugees in Malaysia

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called on Malaysia to allow refugees access to employment, formal education, health and other essential services on Tuesday. At least 164,130 refugees from Burma are registered with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, including 108,860 Rohingya.

“I’ve just met with representatives of all the different ethnic groups from Myanmar who are now represented here in Malaysia, and I was really encouraged because first of all, they really come together as a group. They show solidarity among themselves. This is not what I was used to in the past. It shows that there is a new vision of Myanmar emerging among the communities,” he said. 

Türk also called on Malaysia to end the criminalization of irregular migrants and to develop alternatives to immigration detention. At least 1,000 undocumented Burma nationals have been arrested in Malaysia since December, according to members of the Burmese diaspora. 

Military begins preparations for women conscripts

Regime media denied reports on Tuesday that the military is preparing for women to be conscripted in an upcoming batch of new military conscripts. The military conscription law was activated on Feb. 10. 

“Female conscription will begin in July right after the fourth batch of male conscripts [this month]. The name lists will be compiled after the regional recruitment team has a meeting with the district and township administrators,” said a source in the military who spoke to DVB on the condition of anonymity.

The law states that women aged 18 to 27 must serve at least two years in the military. Women aged up to 35 could also be conscripted as experts in certain fields. Since April, at least 5,000 male conscripts have been trained at 19 military facilities located across the country. Read more here.

Thai academic on Bangkok’s approach to Burma

Sirada Khemanitthathai, a faculty member at the Chiang Mai University (CMU) School of International Affairs, told DVB that Thailand has continued its approach to the conflict in Burma following the resignation and replacement of the government’s Foreign and Vice-Foreign Affairs ministers in April. 

“Thailand needs to have a leading role in the peace process of Myanmar. [It] came up with the idea of an ASEAN Troika. Plus, [it wants] to have China and India to take a role in mediation. It is very important to be inclusive,” she said. Diplomat Maris Sangiampongsa became Thailand’s new Foreign Affairs Minister on May 1.

The former Thai Foreign Affairs Minister Parnpree Bahidda-nukara stated that Thailand was ready to receive up to 100,000 refugees from Burma on April 9 as fighting along the Thai-Burma border intensified. Vice Foreign Affairs Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow oversaw a pilot humanitarian aid delivery into Karen State on March 25. 

A funeral was held for National League for Democracy co-founder Tin Oo in Yangon on Wednesday. (Credit: DVB)

News by Region

KACHIN—A five-year-old boy was killed during an exchange of gunfire between the Burma Army and men at a home in Kyankhinkone village, Mohnyin Township on Monday. “I don’t know which group used grenades but one of them detonated and killed the boy,” said a Mohnyin resident. The Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Burma Army, and other armed groups are active in Mohnyin Township.

MAGWAY—Five civilians, including two children, were killed and 15 others were seriously injured in an airstrike on Kanmyinkone village of Myaing Township on Tuesday. A fighter jet dropped two 200-pound bombs on a monastery in the village. 

“They targeted the monastery. Some people in the monastery were also injured as a bomb landed on a home close to the monastery. Some bodies were not able to be identified,” said a local rescue worker. The remains of the victims were buried on the same day. 

NAYPYIDAW—The regime’s Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) announced on Tuesday that it is taking action against 39 individuals who operate unlicensed foreign currency exchanges and conduct informal money transfers, colloquially known as hundi networks. They are accused of manipulating the exchange rates of foreign currencies. 

The CBM stated on May 24 that it will take action against “illegal” money transfer agents and digital currency exchangers in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering Law for operating without a valid license. It announced that the bank accounts and pay accounts of the 39 are temporarily suspended. 

SAGAING—Residents of Mataw village of Mingin Township in Sagaing Region stated that the death toll from the airstrike on June 3 has risen to more than 38. Over 20 residents were confirmed killed when the airstrike was carried out on a crowded area, where people were gathered for a wedding ceremony. Read more here

TANINTHARYI—Three children were killed and 20 others were injured after a bomb exploded at a primary school in Dawei Township on Tuesday. “A teacher told the students to cut the grass during lunch time. A student saw an unexploded bomb and grabbed it to throw away and it caused the detonation,” said a Dawei resident. The injured children were later sent to Dawei hospital to receive medical treatment. 

Read: A peace initiative for Myanmar should be led by its neighbours. DVB English News is on X, FB, IG, Threads & TikTok. Subscribe to us on YouTube. Follow us on YouTube Music.


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