Myanmar junta’s attacks increase as rights stifled across SE Asia: Amnesty

Bangkok, Mar 28 (EFE).- As Myanmar’s military junta increased physical and judicial attacks against civilians in 2022, rights were restricted in countries right across Southeast Asia, especially in the areas of freedom of expression and freedom of association, according to the findings in Amnesty International’s annual global report published Tuesday.

The following is a selection of the main issues in some of the countries across the region.


Myanmar’s military junta, which seized power in a February 2021 coup, increased attacks on civilians, restarted executions, tortured detainees and convicted people in unfair trials last year, Amnesty said.

“The crackdown against opposition to military rule intensified. Thousands of people were arbitrarily detained and more than 1,000 opposition politicians, political activists, human rights defenders and others were convicted in unfair trials,” the report said.

This included deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was sentenced to 31 years in prison for “corruption and other bogus charges,” in addition to the two-year sentence she was already serving.

The NGO added that at least 356 people died in custody in connection to torture throughout the year, while four people, including deposed MP Phyo Zeya Thaw and activist Ko Jimmy, were executed, the first since the 1980s.

Amnesty also noted restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid, and that foreign companies were accused of supplying aviation fuel used by the military to bomb civilians.

The report also raised the killing of civilians and the systematic burning of villages by the military, which has caused dozens of deaths with bombardments of villages, IDP camp, schools, hospitals and a concert.

As of Dec. 26 there were more than 1.5 million displaced persons in the country, most since the coup, it said.

Amnesty also accused rebel groups of using landmines, despite their international ban, and of reportedly killing civilian administrators working for the junta.


In the Philippines, where Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr was elected as leader in May, unlawful killings continued under the former president’s “war on drugs” and amid impunity, Amnesty said.

It cited university-based research group Dahas, saying 324 drug-related killings by police and other unknown assailants were recorded during 2022, 175 of which took place after July.

Despite announcements of murder charges against at least 30 police officers for various raids and the review of 250 drug-related homicide cases, Amnesty said that “the vast majority of killings related to the ‘war on drugs’ remained uninvestigated.”

Meanwhile, “repression of dissent intensified and freedom of expression was further restricted as human rights defenders, political activists, journalists and others were subjected to unlawful killings, arbitrary arrest and detention” while authorities ordered the closure of independent media and news sites, it added.


Curbs on freedom of expression and association as well as worker rights, environmental degradation, and human trafficking were some of the main issues in Cambodia last year, according to Amnesty.

It highlighted the detention of journalists and activists documenting destruction from illegal logging and the judicial harassment of members and supporters of opposition political parties, including the mass trials that entenced 67 opposition party members and supporters to jail as curbs on freedom of expression and association were restricted.

Workers’ rights were repressed as police arrested and physically assaulted employees and union members during the NagaWorld Casino strike, it said.

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