August 3, 2022
HURFOM: Today, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), releases a new briefing paper, “The Rise of Pro-Junta Militias in Southeastern Burma.” Our latest briefer finds evidence of increasing violence perpetrated against civilians since the attempted coup on 1 February 2021 by newly formed paramilitias in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region. These armed groups are trained and fully supported by the military junta. They have access to weapons and are incentivized through moral and monetary support by the illegal regime.
Activists and human rights defenders continue to face threats to their lives for their work and commitment to the Spring Revolution. Many are facing arbitrary arrest, criminalization, torture, ill-treatment, and killings at the hands of the junta forces and their backed armed groups across the country. The formation and reorganizing of paramilitias by the junta have led to rising levels of violence deployed by these groups. These include: Pyusawhti, Thway Thauk and the Black Kite Brotherhood among others.
According to documentation and reporting by HURFOM and networks, there have been at least 129 victims of militia violence, with 18 killed across target areas of Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region since the attempted coup. The majority of the victims have been in Dawei as tensions between armed groups continue to rise. The victims are mostly young men, but their families, including women, the elderly, and children, have also been targeted. They have been shot, and brutally tortured before their deaths. Many human rights defenders have fled in exile to avoid being caught and killed by groups such as these.
HURFOM condemns the unlawful acts being perpetrated by the junta backed paramiltias and demands that they be held accountable through being tried and punished under international accountability mechanisms. Change cannot come from inside Burma alone. International stakeholders have a moral and political obligation to intervene when the safety of innocent people is at risk. Each day that passes without action is one more which must rest on the consciousness of world leaders.