An interview with a female in-charge of Mon CSO
Around 70 per cent of Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) in Mon State have stopped their operations as they find it difficult to survive following the military coup. The remaining CSOs have fled to the liberated areas due to the military council’s continued monitoring, arrest, inspections and threats. Especially after Thingyan (water festival), people from the CSOs got arrested and warrants were issued continuously.
The Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) interviewed a female incharge from an unnamed Mon CSOs working for women and children rights, knowledge dissemination and public welfare, about the status of CSOs after the military coup and the military council’s crackdown on and threats to CSOs?
Q: How do CSOs in Mon State stand after the military coup?
A: After the coup, our social organizations continue to do our work. However, we can’t do our work publicly. Some people get arrested. However, we are performing our work by hiding. For instance, we can’t say that those working for the welfare of women, children and the public are not arrested. The people from these organizations have had to perform their works secretly since the coup. We can’t perform the public welfare works as it has nothing to do with politics. Shortly after the coup, the military council enacted the law to coerce the CSOs and called a meeting. The army made brutal crackdowns on protests and returned the dead bodies to the families after the arrest. We did not attend the meeting by looking at the above-mentioned situations. We don’t dare perform our works openly. We keep a low profile as we have come to know that the military council coerces and utilizes us. As we thought, the law came out. Some CSOs in Mon State have re-registered their names. But I have heard that they did not get the green-light. They can’t perform their works publicly.
Q: After the military coup, how does the military council tighten the rules on CSOs?
A: The CSOs are facing threats. Some members of our CSO quitted following the coup. They said they will perform their work after the situation returns to normal. We allowed them to quit for security reasons. We have understood the situation. Some members will have to work for one year after attending the school. Because we can’t take responsibility. We face threats. The military council charges the people under Section 505 without any offence. The military council carries out the inspection of overnight guest lists with the use of excessive forces. Especially, those close to the CSOs and those who worked for CSOs get inspected. This is a threat. The junta soldiers threaten them by making phone calls.
Q: How do these threats affect the movements of CSOs?
A: They dare not do it anymore. Out of 100 percent, now only 30 percent can operate. But we don’t want to blame. All CSOs are afraid. However, they face restrictions and get inspected. We can’t even post our sadness on our facebook. The army has tightened the rules on the CSOs a lot. Some CSOs continue to perform their works. Our services have declined a lot. No matter who called at what time, we went to the incidents. Now we have to carefully verify who calls us and whether those who asked for help have connections with the military council.
Sent by IMNA