Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 17 Scenes
MoeMaKa, August 18, 2023
The visit of the Under-Secretary-General of the UNOCHA to Myanmar; 4 civilians were killed in Yinmarbin Township
The delegation led by Mr. Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNOCHA in abbreviation, visited Myanmar, and after meeting with the leader of the Military Council, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, they visited some refugee camps in Rakhine state, according to news reports.
Over the past two years, the number of displaced people fleeing war due to armed conflict has increased from hundreds of thousands to millions, resulting in an urgent need for humanitarian assistance in Myanmar. However, there have been many occasions where the United Nations has not been allowed to help, even though emergency aid is available. Similarly, after the extremely powerful Mocha Cyclone that hit Rakhine State in mid-May, the United Nations was not allowed to freely provide assistance.
Since 2021, the United Nations has tried to provide aid to those displaced by the war in areas such as Mindat in Chin State and Demoso and Hpruso in Kayah State. However, the armed forces of the military council did not allow humanitarian aid to be delivered freely and used a strategy of blocking and cutting off the areas where the armed conflict was taking place, preventing aid from being delivered.
Similar to other regions and states, Rakhine State also did not get the chance to help in previous years when the armed conflict broke out, and now the hundreds of thousands of Mocha Cyclone victims are not allowed to freely receive aid. Under these circumstances, the Under-Secretary-General of the UNOCHA office visited Myanmar. In the newspaper controlled by the military council, it only focused on the information that was said by the military council leader, Min Aung Hlaing, and it also expressed that there was no significant international assistance for the difficulties and needs of Rakhine after Cyclone Mocha. In the news article by BBC Burmese, it was written that the military council leader told the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations that it would be better to provide humanitarian assistance to help victims affected by Cyclone Mocha in Rakhine by looking at the people instead of the government. The United Nations and international governments do not want humanitarian aid to be provided through the hands of the military council, such as the general administration or the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement. They want to deliver aid directly to those in need of humanitarian aid, according to the information and data they collected. They are concerned about the dangers of the military using the aid provided by the international government and the United Nations for political purposes, or other organizations intercepting the aid and using it for their own good.
UN agencies have stated that the United Nations has set a policy not to cooperate with the coup military council anymore. It means that the policy has been set not to sign agreements and cooperate with government ministries like before the military coup. On the other hand, in order to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need, the heads of the United Nations agencies are having meetings with the military council leader. The military council is making a scene and reporting that the Under-Secretary-General of a UN agency has visited Nay Pyi Taw and met with the military leaders as if they had recognized them as a legitimate government.
Another piece of news in today’s news is that 4 civilians were arrested by a military council column in the border between Pale Township and Yinmarbin Township in these days, and a few days later, their dead bodies were reportedly found in the Yamar creek in Yinmarbin Township. Such incidents in which 4-5 civilians, sometimes nearly 10, are killed are happening frequently in Sagaing and Northern Magway. Among the arrested civilians, except for the women, the military council usually killed them on the accusation of being PDF-armed members or supporting the PDF. If one is male, even minors as young as 15 or 16 are often killed. The military council often kills minor males who have not reached the age of adulthood without parole under the accusation that they may be members of the armed forces. Before some of the villagers from the incident in Mon Taing Pin Village were released, one of the military council troops told them to escape from the village. If they heard the sound of a column coming in or a noisy sound, they would order them to run away from the village, according to RFA news. It is possible that one of the military council troops told them to flee if they did not want to face danger of life in the future because of an order from above to kill any man who remained in the village, regardless of age or youth.
Villages in Sagaing and northern Magway are facing a situation where they have to choose between the danger of losing their lives or their houses, cultivated food, and assets. They are now facing the situation of their houses, built by saving their income for years, being destroyed by fire.