Download and print this ‘Wanted’ poster of Min Aung Hlaing.
Al Jazeera reports on the seizure of power by the Burmese army, who have declared a state of emergency and detained civilian leaders.
Al Jazeera interviewed Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, on the arrest of her father Mya Aye, one of the leaders of the 88 Generation, the pro-democracy group dating from the student-led uprising against military rule in 1988.
Channel 4 News report on the near-total internet blackout in Burma, where the leaders of a military coup are facing a rising tide of protests.
The streets of the city of Yangon were filled with angry demonstrators, demanding the release of the country’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was detained following the army take-over last weekend.
Channel 4 News interviewed Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK and the daughter of Mya Aye, who was detained after the coup along with other democracy veterans.
Carrying just a small bag, Mya Aye was escorted from his home in the dead of the night by soldiers just as an internet blackout shrouded the country and a dawn coup ousted Aung San Suu Kyi.
“He prepared a little backpack by the door with clothes and toothpaste,” said Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Burma Campaign UK’s Campaigns Officer and the daughter of Mya Aye, of her father’s contingency plan in the event that whispered rumours of an imminent putsch proved true. “He was arrested twice before so it’s something he is used to.”
Wai Hnin Pwint Thon says Western countries need to impose new targeted sanctions to military-linked institutions and businesses.
She says she does not want other Myanmar people to live through the imprisonment of their loved ones. “The first time I saw my dad was when I was four years old through iron bars at Insein prison. The next generation could live through this again. Children will go see their parents behind bars — this is not the life we want.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained in Monday’s coup, was charged after police said they found four illegally imported handheld radios at her home.
The police said the reason for detention was “to question witnesses, request evidence and seek legal counsel after questioning the defendant”.
Burma Campaign UK commented: “The reality is that they are jailing her because they remain terrified of her.”
25 MPs from all sides of the House of Commons questioned the Minister of State for Asia, Nigel Adams, following his update on the coup in Burma.
The Burmese military, led by Min Aung Hlaing, has arrested many political leaders and human rights activists, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, in night time raids. They have declared a state of emergency for one year.
Governments, including the UK have issued statements of concern or condemning the coup, but none have yet announced any practical action.
The top demand of human rights activists in Burma is to sanction military companies. The military has a huge business empire in Burma including everything from beer to toothpaste, mobile phone networks and ports. International companies enter into joint ventures with these companies or provide equipment or services to them.
Sanctions on military companies would stop international companies doing business with the military and stop them making profits which pay for coups and genocide.
Email the British Foreign Secretary now:
Tell Dominic Raab to immediately impose sanctions on military companies so that no British company can do business with the military.
Mark Farmaner, the director of Burma Campaign UK, has told TIME that the military coup in Burma may have been engineered for personal reasons.
“This could be being driven by the personal ambitions of Min Aung Hlaing, who was due to retire in six months,” he told TIME. “He has also used his position to ensure his family have lucrative businesses interests, which he won’t be in a position to protect after retirement.”
Mark Farmaner said that the coup represents a significant change in strategy for the military, but that it will put them under increased pressure: “It is very hard to see how the military can benefit from this coup. They will face protests and renewed international sanctions.”
Burma Campaign UK’s evidence to the British Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on Xinjiang’s detention camps, and how it relates to the failure of UK policy regarding Burma, has now been published.
BCUK calls for a national strategy for atrocity prevention, a comprehensive law on Universal Jurisdiction, more effective economic sanctions for human rights abusers, and more active work in United Nations bodies.
Indonesia’s Republika reports that Burma Campaign UK has asked Facebook to prevent the Burmese army from using this platform to recruit members, promote their companies’ products and improve their business.