Fearful families in Myanmar post newspaper notices disowning dissident children

‘My daughter is doing what she believes, but I’m sure she will be worried if we got into trouble,’ said one parent

Maroosha Muzaffar
Tuesday 08 February 2022 00:00
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<p>Demonstrators protesting against the military junta last year </p>

Demonstrators protesting against the military junta last year

Frightened families in Myanmar have posted notices in local newspapers to officially announce they are severing ties with relatives, including their children, who have been vocal against Myanmar’s military junta.

The notices started appearing in newspapers late last year after the military announced they would seize properties of opponents and arrest those who have sheltered protesters.

Reuters reported that every day since, as many as seven families on average issue notices disowning dissident relatives.

In November last year, a state-owned newspaper, The Mirror, ran a notice from parents regarding their son Lin Lin Bo Bo who had joined an armed group fighting against the military. It read: “We declare we have disowned Lin Lin Bo Bo because he never listened to his parents’ will.”

In response, their 26-year-old son was quoted as saying: “My comrades tried to reassure me that it was inevitable for families to do that under pressure. But I was so heartbroken.”

Almost 600 notices have now been posted.

Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, senior advocacy officer at rights group Burma Campaign UK, said that “family members are scared to be implicated in crimes”. She added: “They don’t want to be arrested, and they don’t want to be in trouble.”

Last year the Myanmar military junta overthrew the democratically elected government and arrested its senior leaders. In 12 months the security forces are estimated to have killed some 1,500 people and arrested nearly 12,000.

Thousands have also fled the country or joined armed groups in its more remote areas.

The newspaper notices, however, may not be enough to save some, said military spokesperson Zaw Min Tun, who claimed people could still be charged if found to be supporting any opposition to the junta.

Other parents who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the notices disowning their children should be primarily a way to send a message to the authorities that they should not be held responsible for their children’s actions.

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

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