What Matters

Victims of violent crackdowns (From February 1 to April 15, 2021)

By ISP Admin | May 9, 2021

(The original Burmese version was published on the ISP-Myanmar Facebook page on April 16, 2021.) 

∎ Key findings in brief 

Following the February 1, 2021, military coup d’état, mass protests have erupted across Myanmar. Because of the violent crackdowns against the mass protests, and injuries inflicted during the custody in the detention centers, as of April 15, 2021, there have been at least 726 civilian casualties. Moreover, many more were injured, and serious violation of human rights and human dignity committed by the security forces have been widespread. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) recorded personal data of the 642 casualties as of April 15, although there may be many more who are not yet on this list.  

Compared to the recorded total deaths of over 614 by April 1 (please see What Matters No. 16 published in Burmese on April 9, 2021), there have been more than 112 additional casualties within this week. Among the victims of violent crackdowns, protesters between the age groups of 18-30 and 31-40 were the highest. Moreover, the headshot victims during this week were higher than last week. The number of headshot victims remained the same at 92 from last week, which made up 19 percent of the 478 casualties that can confirm the cause of deaths. The highest death toll was still in Yangon Region and that of Mandalay Region followed at the second position.  

Among the additional 112 victims of the violent crackdown within this week, Bago Region suffered the highest number. Consequently, Bago Region has become the third deadliest area after Yangon Region and Mandalay Region. On April 9 alone, the makeshift strongholds of the protestors on Magatit road in Bago City were destroyed in a brutal assault using live ammunition and powerful explosives by the coup military and 82 civilians were killed. 

 Why does it matter? 

By looking at the extend of the violent crackdowns and examining the corps and body parts of the victims who died during protests and those who were killed in the targeted shootings, it can be determined whether the security forces complied with the internationally agreed standard rules and regulations to be followed when dealing with mass protests. These are important data that can be explored from a human rights approach as well as from a transitional justice perspective. 

 Other relevant readings: 

AAPP has collected detailed data about the anti-coup protestors who were victimized during the violent crackdowns. Since the February 1 military coup, AAPP’s database has kept recording the numbers and causes of the death of protesters, the ways the security forces used in responding to the anti-coup d’état mass protests, and evidence of human rights and human dignity violations by the security forces. Daily logs of AAPP is also available on the organization’s website and Facebook pages. Information can also be sent to AAPP for those who are not yet on the list. 

◉ What Matters 

ISP-Myanmar covers a section entitled “What Matters” that could benefit the current anti-coup mass movements through a series of research work. This section aims to introduce issues and data that should be addressed in a short, easy-to-read manner and accessible to everyone based on research findings. The introduced facts, cases, and data are intended to be a thought-provoking stimulus, but not as a definite view. The purpose is to make the data presented more accurate and complete. 

In this series, ISP would try to answer three questions in general:  

1) what is the issue of concern?

2) why does it matter?  

3) is it relevant for Myanmar? 

Addressing these questions does not involve an exhaustive examination but covers the relevant elements and claims.  Thus, each issue of “What Matters” provides a list of suggested readings and references for further study. 

In the current situation, this section will focus on research findings related to three research topics. These are: 
1) research findings related to coup d’état 

2) research findings on mass movements 

3) research findings on how the international community (especially powerful foreign countries that can provide significant support ) intervened in military coups and the authoritarian states.

The research will be based on comparative studies. Research data collected by local partner organizations will also be requested and respectfully presented in various forms from time to time.

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