5 October 2023
For Immediate Release
Today, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) releases a new report, “The Resistance and Resilience of Civilians in Southeastern Burma: Human Rights Violations from January to June 2023.” Our findings provide an overview of the rights landscape in HURFOM target areas of Mon State, Karen State, and Tanintharyi region during the year’s first six months. It also details the admirable and deeply courageous acts of resistance exemplified by people of all ethnicities, genders, and religions in Southeastern Burma in response to the violence waged by the military junta.
Among our findings, between January and June 2023, HURFOM documented that 840 civilians had been arrested and detained, 315 injured, and 146 killed. These numbers are particularly worrying given that by the end of 2022, HURFOM reported that at least 1,155 innocent people had been arrested and detained, 146 killed, including 26 women and children, and nearly 500 injured, of which 120 were women and children. At the current rate, these numbers are set to match those at the end of 2022 or risk being even higher as the junta has shown no signs of easing its military operations. As resistance to the attempted coup intensifies, the Burma Army responds with warfare tactics that attempt to isolate and terrorize those caught amid the conflict.
Despite the daily brutalities being waged, the report also highlights how civilians have organized to defy the regime’s distorted narrative that it is ‘business as usual’ in a country ravaged by conflict. Some ongoing resistance activities are silent strikes, online organizing and participation in People’s Defence Forces, the Civil Disobedience Movement, and stablishing local governance structures.
“Our resistance is still strong, although we are still in jeopardy. We still face and overcome various difficulties to live. We received much support from social organizations, revolutionary comrades, EROs, and local communities. As for me, I am preparing to improve my mental strength to have higher resistance. We continue to help each other,” a 30-year-old former physician told HURFOM.
It is clear in the conclusion of the report that widespread resistance has not eased or slowed since the failed coup on 1 February 2021. Quite the contrary, the people remain even more determined to ensure an end to military rule once and for all.
Their unwavering dedication and commitment exhibited are evident, as indicated by the findings in this report and others authored by civil society organizations. The needs remain urgent as Burma is in an ongoing state of emergency, and it is certainly not too late to act.
HURFOM calls upon international and regional actors to stand with those who believe in supporting and advancing a future in Burma firmly rooted in democracy. This includes providing life-saving aid through cross-border channels and working with local responders. Relationships and trust building must be established with organizations with decades of experience providing emergency support to vulnerable and displaced communities. Further, the voices of the people of Burma must be amplified for all to hear that the junta is not a partner in peace, negotiation or humanitarian assistance.
Nai Aue Mon, HURFOM Program Director
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