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UN Security Council members call for end to airstrikes; Independent experts call UNSC ‘toothless’

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

UN Security Council members call for end to airstrikes

Nine out of 15 member states at the U.N. Security Council – Ecuador, France, Japan, Malta, South Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. – called for an end to “indiscriminate” airstrikes carried out by the military on civilians in Burma after a closed door meeting on Monday.

“The first of February marked three years since the Myanmar military overturned the democratically elected government. The situation in the country remains dire. We strongly condemn the ongoing violence harming civilians,” said Barbara Woodward, the U.K. ambassador to the U.N.

Alounkeo Kittikhoun, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Special Envoy to Burma, briefed the Security Council. He reportedly said that ASEAN remains committed to implementing its Five Point Consensus, which has failed to halt violence in Burma since it was adopted in April 2021.

Independent experts call UNSC ‘toothless’

The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) called the U.N. Security Council “toothless” for issuing a statement following its meeting on the Burma crisis Feb. 5 and not forcing the military to adhere to its previous resolution in December 2022, which mandated an end to all violence.

“The [Security] Council holds closed-door meetings and issues mere statements, while the military junta drops bombs on refugee schools and its supporters burn people alive for supporting the resistance,” said Yanghee Lee, the former U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights and a member of SAC-M.

The SAC-M is an independent group of experts calling for peace, democracy, justice, accountability and human rights in Burma. Other members include Marzuki Darusman, the former chair of the U.N. Independent Fact-Finding Mission in Burma, and Chris Sidoti, a former member of the fact-finding mission. 

Video circulates of alleged resistance fighters burned alive

The Yaw Defense Force (YDF) stated that two of its members were captured and burned to death by a pro-military militia in Myaukkhinyan village, Gangaw Township, of Magway Region last November. A video circulated online Tuesday showing two alleged YDF members burned alive in front of a crowd.  

“It happened in November last year. The video was in the hands of people who had fled from the village. People who watched the scene were [militia] members and their relatives,” said a spokesperson from the Gangaw People’s Defense Force (PDF). 

The killings occurred after two YDF members were apprehended by the Burma Army following an attack on Nov. 7, 2023. Gangaw residents blamed the local militia, not the military, for the killings. Regime media has not yet reported on the video.  

News by Region

The Shan State Progress Party commemorated Shan National Day at its headquarters in Wan Hai, Kehsi Township on Feb. 7. (Credit: SSPP)

SHAN—The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) stated that it organized a celebration for Shan National Day at its headquarters in Wan Hai, Kehsi (Kyethi) Township on Feb. 7. SSPP General Say Htin spoke at the event. 

A message from the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) was read during the ceremony. The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS/SSA) ​​held its own celebrations at its headquarters in Loi Tai Leng. The regime organized small events in Lashio and Taunggyi.

ARAKAN—The Arakan Army (AA) announced that it captured the No. 379 and No. 541 Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) bases in Minbya on Feb. 6. All three military bases in the town are now purportedly under the control of the AA. 

“Family members of the military regime and top leaders were either captured or surrendered,” a Minbya resident told DVB. A source close to the AA said that hundreds of Burma Army personnel surrendered with their families. 

AYEYARWADY—Over 100 Rohingya, including 18 children, were arrested in January. ‘They fled [Arakan] due to discrimination but were arrested before they could reach their destination,” an unnamed aid worker who assists the Rohingya community told DVB.  

A source close to the police said that they are being detained at police stations across the region. Regime authorities arrested 625 Rohingya in Ayeyarwady last year and gave prison sentences to 504. 

KAREN—More than 100 homes have been destroyed in Kawkareik Township since December. Fighting between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and the Burma Army resumed this month after a brief pause in January.

“More homes were destroyed when an artillery shell dropped on No. 2 ward on Feb. 6. Electricity is currently cut off,” said a Kawkareik resident. Regime media reported that the KNLA and PDF planted landmines in Kawkareik to cut off military reinforcements. 

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