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Coup Watch March 2023 – The illegal junta dissolves rival parties and readies internment camps

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Key summary points:

  • As of 31 Mar, there were at least 21,531 armed clashes and attacks, displacing 1,438,600 people since Feb 2021. Junta troops continued their violent crimes.
  • The illegal junta dissolved the NLD and 39 other political parties that had refused to re-register with its Union Election Commission (UEC) under the regime’s newly enacted Political Parties Registration Law. The dissolved political parties reportedly won 88.45% of parliamentary seats in the 2020 General Election.
  • With China’s backing, the illegal junta accelerated their ‘pilot project’ to forcibly repatriate at least 1000 Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Burma. Representatives from China, India and ASEAN visited a ‘transit camp’ for forcibly repatriated Rohingya refugees in Rakhine State. Regime ministers traveled to Bangladesh to ‘scrutinize’ Rohingya refugees in anticipation of their forced repatriation.
  • The UN sent mixed messages, saying Rakhine State is unsafe for Rohingya refugees to return, denying their involvement in the junta-led and China-mediated, repatriation ‘pilot project’. Leaked emails revealed UNHCR and WFP allowed their boats to be used to ferry regime officials at the regime’s “very firm request”.
  • Regime forces escalated their brutality throughout Burma. The self-proclaimed ‘Ogre column’ beheaded at least 4 in Sagaing Region. Junta forces executed 29 civilians in Shan State.
  • The junta announced that it would draw lots for ‘lucky’ men to enlist; a regime aligned monk threatened fresh conscripts with expulsion from their village in Sagaing Region if they did not cooperate. The junta ordered households to surrender one person each for conscription in Tanintharyi Region.
  • In commemoration of the Federal Democratic Charter’s second anniversary, the NUCC and the NUG released a joint statement highlighting their commitment to draft a constitution and to “consider the suggestions of the revolution’s key stakeholders” in the future of building a Federal Democratic Union.
  • The NUG sent a formal letter to PTTEP, requesting to transfer future dividend payments from the Yadana offshore oil field project to an NUG-designated account and hand over the project’s financial and operational information since the attempted coup began. The letter also warned PTTEP that the NUG would initiate an arbitration process in Singapore if the company did not engage within 30 days.

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