For Immediate Release
7 March 2023: Today, the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) releases a new report, “We Dare Not Return,” Displacement and the Denial of Human Rights in Southeastern Burma. The report includes an analysis of the current situation in our respective target areas of Southeastern Burma throughout 2022. The findings draw on interviews with emergency response teams, survivors, and witnesses of the attacks. The Burma Army committed all the crimes documented in the report with complete and total impunity. They are widespread, systematic and indicative of a worsening pattern of violence.
Between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2022, HURFOM reported that at least 146 people were killed, including 26 women and children. In addition, more than 480 were injured, and nearly 1500 were arbitrarily arrested and detained. The Burma Army continued to target opposition forces, including members of pro-democracy groups. This subsequently led to over 85 cases of enforced disappearances. Dozens of human rights defenders remain in exile for their safety. HURFOM also documented 750 houses burned, including 58 villages. The humanitarian crisis caused by the junta’s destruction has led to over 150 000 people being forcibly displaced in Southeastern Burma.
Throughout the reporting period of 2022, the conditions on the ground caused civilians to feel unsafe. Many villagers that HURFOM spoke to said they ‘dare not return’ to their homes out of fear that they would be arrested, tortured or even killed by the military junta. There are economic and social struggles as villagers cannot work, study or support their families because the presence of the regime has deterred them. On multiple occasions, HURFOM documented Burma Army soldiers indiscriminately firing into villages.
The situation in the third year since the failed coup has not improved. The rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in southeastern Burma requires urgent and immediate attention as more lives are caught in the crossfire daily. International actors and UN bodies must support and enact a no-fly zone in Burma, a global arms embargo, and an urgent and immediate referral of the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court.
And yet, a sentiment of hope, determination and adversity is still prominent throughout the country as rallying forces join together to defeat and dismantle the junta. The people on the ground in Burma are brave in their unwavering commitment to see an end to military rule. The international community must not let their struggle be in vain. They must use their diplomatic tools and resources to engage meaningfully with civil society organizations and the National Unity Government.
Nai Aue Mon, HURFOM Program Director
Signal: +66 86 167 9741
HURFOM was founded by exiled pro-democracy students from the 1988 uprisings, recent activists and Mon community leaders and youth. Its primary objective is restoring democracy, human rights and genuine peace in Burma. HURFOM is a non-profit organization, and all its members are volunteers with a shared vision for peace in the country.