Summary of Monthly Situation Updates for February 2018

March 21, 2018

Rakhine

1.    The spokesperson for the President Office, U Zaw Htay, said 16 people including seven members of military are facing actions for their alleged roles in extra judicial killing of 10 Rohingyas. U Zaw Htay said after Reuters news agency published a report on killing of villagers of Inn Din village.

 



2.    Reuters journalists said they were arrested because they have conducted investigated into the killing of Rohingyas from Inn Din village. The journalists made the comment after coming out of the court room on 14 February. They are charged under the section 3 of the Official Secret Act after police found secret documents in their hands at the time of their arrest.

 

3.    The Ministry of Home Affairs told Frontier news agency on February 10that the head of Inn Din village administration is under investigation for giving information to Reuters news agency. Also at least five villagers reportedly are also facing investigation in connection with the same incident.

 

4.    The Rakhine State government said claim by Associated Press that mass graves of hundreds of people were found near Gutar Pyin village in Buthitaung was not true. The state government said on 2 February after a government team investigated into the claim. The spokesperson of the Rakhine State government U Tin Maung Swe said the reports of mass graves was misleading.

 

5.    The spokesperson for the President Office U Zaw Htay said the government will not allow international investigation team to visit Rakhine State. The government reacted to a call by the European Union to send an investigation team to probe into the incidents in Rakhine State.

 

6.    The Maungdaw District court on 21 February sentenced people who were facing charges for their alleged role in 2016 October terrorist attack. The special tribunal of the court sentenced 4 Rohingya to death as well as 25 people to 50 years imprisonment and 34 people to 18 years.

 

7.    The spokesperson of the President Office, U Zaw Htay, said on 20 February that terrorists could be hiding among those who are living inside the Zero line on Myanmar Bangladesh border. He said they are aim to put up a political trap for the two governments.

 

8.    The refugees who were in the Zero Line have moved into Bangladesh after discussion between Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments. Some people living in no man’s land have dismantled their shelters and moved into Bangladesh on 26 February.

 

9.    The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Immigration and Manpower Department, U Myint Kyaing, said on 13 February that more people from Rakhine State were fleeing to Bangladesh due to threat by ARSA terrorist group.

 

10. U Zaw Htay said on 24 February that burned villages were cleared by using bulldozers to construct new roads. The Human Rights Watch accused the government of destroying 50 villages. The group provided satellite pictures of the villages as evidence.

 

11. The Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr Win Myat Aye, said the government will conduct tour for diplomats to visit the sites for reception of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. He said the diplomats will visit in three groups to the sites on 6, 9 and 15 February.

 

12. The Minister of Labor, Immigration and Manpower, U Thein Swe, said it would be more convenient if refugees were send back before the monsoon season. The minister travelling will be restricted during the rainy season and more chances for diseases.

 

13. The Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement said many refugees could be returned by mid- March. Dr Win Myat Aye said on 22 February that as the lists of returnees provided by Bangladesh were assessed, it would be possible to repatriate refugees within two weeks.

 

14. The Minister of Labor Immigration and Manpower said the government was trying to explain in dignified manner to the international community that Rohingya people does not exist in Myanmar. The Minister said in parliament on 5 February in response to a question by MP from Matman Township on how the government would inform to the international community that Rohingya does not exist in Myanmar.

 

15. The Ministry of Home Affairs said 4 Rohingya youths were arrested on 6 February. They were arrested in Chin State after they came into the state from Indian border. In other incident, 5 Rohingya girls were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for travelling without permission. They were arrested in Rekhawda in Chin State where they came from Mizoram State in India.

 

16. The Ministry of Home Affairs said Rakhine Buddhist families from Bangladesh came to Maungtaw on 22 February. The Ministry said they were forced to flee due to attacks by Muslims. The government is calling Rakhine Buddhists to return back to Myanmar and they are provided with house and land for cultivation.

 

17. Rakhine families from Thantwe were moved to Maungtaw after the latest violent incidents in Rakhine State, with intention to protect Myanmar territory. The 60 Rakhine families from four townships in Rakhine State including Thantwe have arrived to Thinbaw Kwe village and they are to be relocated to In Dinn village to be built by Myanmar government.

 

18. Home-made guns and explosives were found at a home of Rakhine man in Myay Pone Township in Rakhine State on 17 February. However, the news was not reported in local media.

 

19. The Muslims Kaman students in Thantwe who are to sit in matriculation exams said they face discrimination. Their roll numbers were separated from other students and they are mentioned as Bengalis in the student list. The student parents said normally the student roll numbers are set in alphabetical orders.

 

20. The parents of students in three Kaman villages in Sittwe Township in Rakhine State said their children are losing education opportunities. The chair of Kaman Progressive Party said Kaman students have been denied to join middle school since 2012 sectarian violence in the state.

 

21. A MP from Rakhine has called for dismantlement of Arabic schools in the northern Rakhine State and to substitute them with government schools. U Phe Than, a MP from Myay Pone Township in Rakhine State was speaking at the lower house of parliament during a debate on Rakhine issue on 20 February.

 

22. The displaced Muslims from Kyauk Phyu Township have requested the government to allow them to return to their places of origin. However, the Rakhine residents of the town are refusing to allow the Muslims to come back.

 

Meiktila

23. So-called nationalists rejected a plan by the government to resettle displaced Muslims in Yan Myo Aung ward. They expressed their opinion when the government conducted survey on 18 February on public opinion on its plan.  

24. After the authorities ban mass prayers by Muslims in Meiktila, in a new restriction was imposed the authorities ordered on 26 February to close down summer religious classes for Muslim students. According to local Muslims the ban of classes were at the pressure of so-called nationalists.

 

Kayin

25. A pagoda was built on a land own by Muslim in Hline Bwe Township in Kayin State. It was built on 8 February in Pa Ta village in Pine Kyone sub-township on the land own by an elderly Muslim woman Daw Ahsiyar Bi. The commander of the Border Guard Force has participated in building of the pagoda.

 

Ayeyarwaddy

26. The Ministry of Home Affairs said a group of 21 Kaman Muslims from Rakhine State were arrested on 3 February near Ah Thin Su village in Nyaungtone Township in Ayeyarwaddy Region. They were arrested after the police accused them of travelling without permission. The Kaman are one of among 135 recognized ethnic groups in Myanmar and their arrest show discrimination they are facing.

 

27. On 13 February, a Muslim man eloped with a Buddhist woman in Aine Tha Byu village in Lay Myat Hnar Township. They fall in love but it was used to incite religious hatred by saying that Buddhist woman was deceived by Muslim man.

 

Yangon

28. The Northern District Court on 9 February indicted three people in connection with the murder of prominent Muslim lawyer U Ko Ni on charges which carries maximum death penalty. Kyi Linn, Aung Win Zaw and Zeyar Phyo were charged for murder under section 302 (1) (b) and also under section 34 for conspiracy to murder.

 

29. The defense lawyer in U Ko Ni Murder case said his clients would appeal against the order by District Court the charges which carries maximum death penalty. The Northern District court charged the four person on 9 February.

 

30. The brother of the main suspect in U Ko Ni murder case was given bail by Yangon Northern District Court on 22 February. Aung Win Htun, brother of Aung Win Khaing was given bail at a surety bond of Kyat 50 million. He is charged under the section 212 of penal code for allegedly helping his brother to commit the murder. Aung Win Htun driven his brother to the site murder. Aung Win Khaing is still evading arrest and he was declared as fugitive by the court.

 

31. During a court hearing on murder of U Ko Ni on 2 February four ultra-nationalists supporters of the main accused Kyi Linn in the case gathered in front of the court. They were wearing T-shirt emblazon with “you eat well” which was taken by persecution side as threat to them. The four were charged with crimination defamation.

 

32. A man was charged with criminal deformation after a post on social media on a charity event he organized include provocative messages linked to murder of NLD lawyer U Ko Ni. Tin Lin Hteik was charged after a post on his social media page on the charity event he organized on 10 February in Tharkayta Township included a picture of woman shooting at other woman standing while holding a child (it was the exact depiction of the scene of U Ko Ni murder). The gunwoman in the picture was wearing T shirt emblazoned with “you eat well”.

 

33. A post on social media on 19 February said refurbishment of a Hindu temple in Lahar Yat village in Thanlyin Township was halted after a group of so-called nationalists put pressure on authorities to do so.

 

34. The Buddha Dhamma Charitable Organization (a successor organization to Ma Ba Tha) issued a statement on 5 February to protest use of Pali words by Christians. The statement said the Pali words are exclusively for Buddhist religion not for others.

 

35. The Union Election Commission rejected application for establishment of a pro-nationalist party. A key member of the rejected party Maung Thway Chun said he would joined the party which already got registration. The Nationalist party has applied for registration on 2 August but the commission rejected the application 24 November.

 

36. A leading ultra-nationalist monk, Wirathu, called his supporters on 17 February to say “you eat well” loud enough that the whole world could hear. He was speaking at an event marked the birthday of a fellow monk U Tilawkabi Wuntha held at Yangon’s Insein Ywama monastery.

 

37. A media conference calling for action against U Wirathu was scheduled to be held on 25 February at the office of Myanmar Journalist network, however, it was forced to held as a low- key event after Ma Ba Tha monks gathered in large numbers inside the office.

 

38. The police said in a statement issued on 2 February that legal action would be taken against the man who threw a Molotov cocktail into the compound of the residence of the State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon. It said the action will be taken against the man despite of the fact that he is mentally instable. The attack took placed on 1 February and he was arrested on the next day. 

(c) 2018 BHRN

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