Civil organizations in Kayin are facing huge obstacles with new Junta-drafted regulations imposed on civil society

Is the regime trying to strangle local aid- providers? Associations in Kayin State are facing a big dilemma over whether to comply with the new junta -drafted registration of all civil society groups, and the requirement to re- register by January 2023.

An official from a civil society group in Hpa-An city told KIC that “ we are still debating whether or not to keep their association, as we may be disbanded and suffer reprisals, if we failed to comply.”

He said, “ Our team is a simple funeral team. Our donors are in neighborhoods and cities. Now, with the new Military Council law, it is a little difficult for us to think about it. According to the law, you cannot be associated with an illegal organization, so each of our donors needs to know everything. Because of that, it is difficult for us to re- register.”

According to the law of the military council, any civil organization must be registered, or they will be imprisoned for 3 years (or) fined 1,000,000 kyats. It states that if you communicate with individuals and organizations designated as illegal terrorists, you will be fined 5,000,000 kyats and imprisoned for up to 5 years.

A young man from Hlaingbwe who works in charity told KIC that “ Due to the new law of the Military Council, the civil organizations providing support for social, local development, health and education will be weakened, and there will be fewer organizations that will be re-registered under the Military Council.”

“ I also heard that they are going to hold an election. I don’t know if there will be an election or not. Anyway I heard that some civil society groups will re-register after the election. I can’t say anything specific at this time,” he said.

The Registration of Organizations Law, which was newly drafted by the Military Council, states that associations are not allowed to participate in political, religious and internal matters, and that government departments have the right to inspect them at any time.

The law was redrafted after the military coup and published in state-run newspapers controlled by the Military Council on October 28, 2022.The military council also instructed that the associations must be re-registered by January 2023.

A census was conducted in the provinces and regions from January 9-13 ,and during that time, there were 7 attacks in Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Karen and Chin, according to the newspaper of the Military Council on January 14. The Military Council has also announced that the nationwide population census will be conducted from January 9 to January 31.

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