What Matters No. 17
(The original Burmese version was published on the ISP-Myanmar Facebook page on April 10, 2021.)
∎Key findings in brief
Since the military coup d’état on February 1, 2021, there have been various forms of mass protests erupted across the country. Simultaneously, armed conflicts occur continuously between ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) and the coup councils in the minority ethic regions where EAOs are based.
After the Coup day, at least 69 times of clashes happened in the minority ethnic regions. The majority of them occurred in Karen National Union (KNU) controlled areas. Especially on March 27, KNU Brigade 5 captured the Myanmar coup military’s Thee Mu Htar camp. Subsequently, the Myanmar coup military launched multiple airstrikes on the KNU controlled areas on March 27, 28, 29, and 30. A total of over 200 times shootings took place between the KNU and the Myanmar coup military in the KNU controlled areas since the coup on February 1.
Over two months of conflicts in the ethnic regions, more than 51 civilians died, and over 71 civilians were injured. Among the death toll, 20 of them were killed by the airstrikes of the Myanmar coup military. There has been an increase of 32,030 IDPs due to the conflicts after the military coup. Starting from 2020 to the end of April first week of 2021, the refugee numbers have reached 399,530. Over the new 30,000 IDPs were in Kayin State (Karen State). Among them, only about 3,000 went to the Thai-Myanmar border for hiding, whereas most people went into hiding in the jungles and forest of the KNU controlled areas.
∎Why does it matter?
By looking at the fatalities and casualties of civilians, causes of deaths and casualties and numbers of IDPs due to the conflicts between the coup council and EAOs, and the conflicts between different EAOs, it can be studied if armed forces violated human rights or not from a transitional justice perspective. Moreover, by looking at the conflicts that occurred after the military coup, further studies can be done on whether there is a change in the conditions of Myanmar’s existing peace process.