May 2023 | Military junta frees 2,153 prisoners ahead of Buddhist holiday
The military junta released 2,153 prisoners convicted under section 505A of the penal code, which it uses to suppress peaceful dissent in the country. The junta traditionally amnesties prisoners in line with national holidays, but data suggests that political prisoners make up only a small fraction of the total number of prisoners released. Post-release, amnestied prisoners are typically kept under surveillance and are at high risk of re-arrest.
April 2023 | Military junta airstrike kills civilians at an NUG-office opening ceremony
The military junta launched one of the deadliest air assaults since it came into power, killing more than 100 civilians, including children, who were attending a ceremonial opening of a local office (Kanbalu’s People’s Administration Team) of the National Unity Government (NUG). The targeted village is in the Sagaing region, which has become a place of anti-regime resistance. The airstrike was condemned by the ASEAN Chair, the United Nations, the NUG, and others.
March 2023 | 1000 Rohingya refugees to return in Myanmar for a pilot program
A Myanmar junta delegation visited south-eastern Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps to interview refugees’ candidates for a controversial “pilot repatriation programme” of 1,000 people. The programme was created by Myanmar and Bangladesh in 2018 and mediated by the Chinese government but was halted for the past years following Myanmar’s military coup and the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier in March, a delegation of ambassadors from eight countries visited Rakhine State’s Maungdaw township to verify the preparation of the village before refugees’ arrival. The pilot programme sparked concern over the military junta’s commitment to ensuring a safe and dignified return for Rohingya refugees.
February 2023 | Junta extends state of emergency and martial law
The Junta extended the country’s state of emergency by six months, claiming that the “country remains in an abnormal situation and time is needed to prepare for a peaceful and stable election.” The Junta also extended martial law in 37 townships across the country. Rights groups are warning the announcement could foretell a possible increase in arbitrary arrests, torture and executions by Myanmar’s military regime as martial law puts police, judicial and administrative activities in the townships under the regional military’s control.