Myanmar Junta’s Persecution of Political Opponents Continues

By The Irrawaddy 11 May 2023

The Myanmar military junta’s campaign of violent political persecution continues despite the international community’s calls for dialogue and an immediate end to the violence.

Special envoys from both the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have called for the cessation of violence. Recently, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon held talks with junta boss Min Aung Hlaing and urged him to implement an immediate cessation of violence and to start a constructive dialogue among all parties.

However, the junta is still committing atrocities against the civilian population in resistance strongholds, as well as against the political opposition through extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment.

It continues to crush all political opposition, dissolving at least 40 political parties including the National League for Democracy (NLD) on March 28.

The NLD won a second consecutive landslide victory in the November 2020 general election before the junta staged a coup in February 2021 alleging electoral fraud.

The junta detained and prosecuted elected members of Parliament, as well as NLD supporters and members including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

NLD members, their families and supporters have been regularly attacked and killed by pro-regime militia since then.

At least 1,235 NLD members have been detained, 26 died during interrogation or in detention, and 63 others were killed unlawfully, according to a statement released by the NLD on March 29.

On Sunday, two relatives of an NLD Central Executive Committee member were shot dead by unknown gunmen at their home in Yangon.

More than 20 NLD members and supporters including 10 from Mandalay were also allegedly slaughtered by the Thwe Thout pro-regime terror group in 2021.

Houses of NLD members and NLD offices are regularly raided and destroyed by junta and pro-regime militia groups.

An explosion occurred in the compound of the home of Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, the former chief minister of Mandalay and the vice chair of the NLD, in Amarapura Township on Monday.

A pro-junta channel on Telegram reported that the attack was carried out by the People’s Defense Force (PDF) but most of its claims turned out to be inaccurate.

No casualties were reported as the house was confiscated by the junta after the 2021 military coup.

In another incident, the regional office of the NLD in Mandalay was also destroyed by the military junta on May 5, according to local sources.

Local residents claimed junta military personnel and military-appointed administrative members used heavy machinery to raze the building at around 9 p.m.

The five-story building, which had been sealed off by the junta since February 2021, was damaged by a blast last October.

The junta also removed the signposts of NLD offices in Yangon and Mandalay in broad daylight after the party was dissolved by the military junta.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported that at least 300 immovable properties belong to members of Parliament and NLD members had been seized by the junta as of March 31, 2023.

According to the NLD, the junta had carried out 120 searches and raids on NLD offices and confiscated the homes of 371 NLD members as of March 29.