Myanmar families publicly disown their dissident children in newspaper notices due to Junta fear

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  • Burmese families are posting notices in local papers to announce they are cutting ties with their relatives who are against the ruling military junta.
  • The military junta took control of the country after successfully unseating former State Counsellor of Myanmar and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi last year.
  • Since seizing power, the army has allegedly killed over 1,500 people and arrested almost 9,000, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
  • The army announced in November that it will seize the properties of what it deems opponents and arrest citizens who shelter protesters.
  • Since then, an average of six or seven notices disowning family members have started showing up in state-owned newspapers on a daily basis.

Hundreds of families in Myanmar are posting newspaper notices disowning their relatives who oppose the military junta, including their own children.

Burmese families have been posting an average of six or seven notices daily since November when the ruling junta announced that it would take over properties of enemies and arrest those who shelter dissidents, reports Reuters.

The military, which took control of the country after successfully unseating democratically elected officials last year, began conducting raids on homes after the announcement. 

Since seizing power from the former State Counsellor of Myanmar and Minister of Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi-led government, the military junta has reportedly killed over 1,500 people and arrested almost 9,000, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). The mounting violence prompted thousands of people to join resistance forces or flee the country.

One of the nearly 600 notices that have been posted so far came from the parents of 26-year-old Lin Lin Bo Bo, who had joined an armed resistance group. 

“We declare we have disowned Lin Lin Bo Bo because he never listened to his parents’ will,” read a notice published in the state-run paper The Mirror, according to Reuters.

Lin Lin Bo Bo told Reuters that while his comrades reassured him that “it was inevitable for families to do that under pressure,” he was still “so heartbroken” about the post.

Journalist So Pyay Aung reportedly experienced a similar feeling when his father posted a notice in the state-owned Myanma Alinn, saying, “I declare I am disowning my son because he did unforgivable activities against his parents’ wills. I will not have any responsibilities related to him.”

So Pyay Aung, who livestreamed a video showing police brutality during protests, fled to Thailand with his wife and baby daughter to avoid being hunted down. 

“I felt a little sad,” So Pyay Aung was quoted as saying to Reuters. “But I understand that my parents had fears of pressure. They might have worries of their house being seized or getting arrested.”

According to Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Burma Campaign UK senior advocacy officer, the families are acting out of fear of being “implicated in crimes,” noting that these family members “don’t want to be arrested, and they don’t want to be in trouble.”

Some parents told Reuters the notices are a statement to authorities that they should not be held accountable for the actions of their children.

“My daughter is doing what she believes, but I’m sure she will be worried if we got into trouble,” an unnamed parent said. “I know she can understand what I have done to her.”

It remains unclear whether the notices are of any help to protect the families as military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun has previously stated, according to Reuters, that people could still be charged if they are found to be supporting any type of dissent to the junta.

Featured Image Reuters

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