What Matters No. 21
(This article is a translation of the original Burmese version published on the ISP-Myanmar Facebook page on April 18, 2021.)
∎ Key Findings in Brief
Followed by the February 1, 2021, military coup d’état, numerous forms of mass movements calling for justice have raged across the country. At the same time, armed fighting between the ethnic armed resistance groups and troops of the military coup council have continued in the minority ethnic areas where the ethnic armed organizations are based.
There have been at least 75 clashes in the minority ethnic areas since the military coup, most of which took place in the areas controlled by the Brigades of the KNU across Kayin State. From February 1 to April 8, 2021, there had been at least 69 armed clashes in the minority ethnic populated areas, and within this week, at least there were six more clashes, bringing the total number to at least 75. These armed clashes took place in Kachin State and northern Shan State between the troops of the coup council and those of the EAOs from April 9 and 17, 2021. More than 54 civilians have been killed and more than 72 injured in the armed clashes in minority ethnic areas over the past two months. In addition, the airstrikes of the coup council killed more than 22 civilians. In the armed clashes between February 1 and April 8, more than 51 civilians were killed and more than 71 were injured. Within this week, three civilians were killed and at least one was injured. In addition, the airstrikes of the coup council have killed at least two civilians this week.
Besides, due to the armed clashes, the number of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) has increased and reached 34,601 after the February military coup. From February 1 to April 8, the number of IDPs was 32,030 and it rose to 34,601 by April 17, meaning the number increased by over 2,571 in one week. From 2020 to the second week of April 2021, the number of IDPs has exceeded 402,101.
The additional 32,000 people became IDPs because of the fighting in Kayin State. On April 14, more than 2,000 local people from over 30 villages along the Happun-Kamamaung road in Dwelo Township and Butho Township of Mutraw District were forced to flee their villages by artillery fire of the coup council.
∎ Why does it matter?
These are data that need to be taken into consideration for the following reasons. Looking at the number of civilian casualties and injuries; the causes of deaths; and numbers of refugees and IDPs fleeing the war due to the armed conflicts between the coup council and the EAOs, as well as that of among the EAOs themselves, will enable to evaluate whether the armed forces of all groups committed any human rights violations from the perspective of transitional justice. Moreover, by looking at the post-coup armed clashes, further studies can be done on whether there is a change in the contexts of Myanmar’s existing peace process.
∎ Other relevant readings
On-the-ground reports from ethnic news organizations and other independent media groups provide regular updates about conflict situations, their impact, and the collateral damage in the aftermath of the military coup. These include reports of renewed fighting in ethnic areas, civilian fatalities, and rising refugee and IDP issues on the ground. In addition, records and reports by United Nations organizations such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and other independent local and foreign organizations also provide information about the ongoing conflict situation in Myanmar.