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IMMINENT WARNING: MYANMAR JUNTA BURNS 19 CIVILIANS ALIVE IN BAGO REGION

Region of Concern: Myanmar

Written By Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg; Edited by Cameron Munoz, Senior Editor

Date: May 13, 2023


Map of Myanmar and Bago Region[1]


Event: On May 10, the Myanmar Junta burned 19 civilians alive in the Bago region’s Nuying Pin Thar village after heavy fighting between the Junta and the Karen rebels. Eight minors and five members of the same family were among the killed. The preceding hours saw several mine attacks on the Junta from the rebels, leading to the civilian’s arrests and immolation.[2] The Myanmar Junta has frequently used fire as a weapon, regularly burning down entire villages and displacing citizens from their homes.[3] According to the political wing of the Karen National Liberation Army, the death toll from the May 10 attack could be higher, but this cannot be verified since the Junta has cut off access to the village.[4] Reports indicate that the Junta has broadened its tactics this year, using tactics like massacres, beheadings, mutilation of victims, and sexual violence.[5]


Significance: The Junta will likely continue committing atrocities against civilians in response to the attacks perpetrated by the rebels. The lack of international attention on the war in Myanmar due to the war in Ukraine will likely lead to intensified attacks from the military without any global consequences. Russia and China will likely continue to strengthen their relationships with the government in Myanmar amidst the tensions between these countries and the West. A strengthened relationship between Myanmar, Russia, and China will likely lead to more weapons being sent to Myanmar, further increasing the violence against civilians. An increase in violence will also likely weaken the rebel movement, decreasing the likelihood of a democratic future for Myanmar. Using tactics such as beheadings, immolations, and sexual violence against civilians will very likely lead to mass migration into the neighboring countries of Thailand and Bangladesh. Increased flows of refugees will likely result in overcrowded refugee camps without proper access to food and water. Diseases and starvation in refugee camps will likely lead to more civilian deaths.


Recommendations: Through the United Nations and European Union (EU), the US and EU member states should increase sanctions on the Myanmar government and increase monitoring of atrocities occurring on the ground. Human rights organizations, such as the Karen Human Rights Group, and journalists in the country should monitor and report any potential attack on civilians to boost international awareness of the attacks on civilians. Local human rights groups should also inform civilians about the safest routes to flee the country and work with pro-democracy militias to protect human rights groups and journalists. UN member states should also increase funding to the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF), operated by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This fund and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees should send supplies to the refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh, such as food, water, and medicines. The United Nations member states should also pressure companies and banks working with the military-owned companies in Myanmar to decrease funding to the government, which would otherwise be used to buy weapons and military equipment.

 

[1]Bago Region” by Google Maps

[2] Myanmar junta forces commit more atrocities, burn 19 civilians to death, Radio Free Asia, May 2023, https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/civilians-burned-05122023162234.html

[3] Thousands Flee Myanmar Junta Arson Attacks in Sagaing, The Irrawaddy, May 2023, https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/thousands-flee-myanmar-junta-arson-attacks-in-sagaing.html

[4] Myanmar junta forces commit more atrocities, burn 19 civilians to death, Radio Free Asia, May 2023, https://www.rfa.org/english/news/myanmar/civilians-burned-05122023162234.html

[5] Myanmar Junta Ramps Up Atrocities Amid Lack of International Pressure, The Irrawaddy, May 2023, https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/analysis/myanmar-junta-ramps-up-atrocities-amid-lack-of-international-pressure.html

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