Myanmar Regime Revokes Citizenship of 11 Prominent Resistance Figures

By The Irrawaddy 7 March 2022

The Myanmar junta has revoked the citizenship of 11 well-known opposition figures including ministers of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG), which is leading the revolutionary movement against its rule, along with a veteran student leader and social media influencers.

In an announcement made on Friday night, the junta said it had terminated the citizenship of the 11 individuals under the military-drafted 1982 Citizenship Law because they have allegedly fled Myanmar and harmed the interests of the country.

Among those singled out for citizenship revocation—a move that appears to be unprecedented—are some of the most prominent faces of the NUG including its Health and Education Minister Dr. Zaw Wai Soe, Defense Minister U Yee Mon, Foreign Minister Daw Zin Mar Aung, and Home Affairs and Immigration Minister U Lwin Ko Latt.

They are joined by Minister of Human Rights U Aung Myo Min, Minister of International Cooperation Dr. Sa Sa, Minister of Communications, Information and Technology U Htin Lin Aung, and Deputy Minister of Women, Youths and Children Affairs Daw Ei Thinzar Maung.

The NUG was formed by elected lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD) who were prevented from taking their seats when the military staged a coup on Feb. 1 last year, along with their ethnic allies, as the legitimate government. It seeks to challenge the regime’s legitimacy at home and abroad. Detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint were nominated to retain their positions in the NUG.

NUG Foreign Minister Daw Zin Mar Aung told The Irrawaddy the law under which the group’s citizenship was revoked should be repealed and rewritten, as it was drawn up for political purposes by the military and extremist nationalists under the previous regime.

She dismissed the coup maker’s revocation of their citizenship under the repressive law as an on-paper announcement that had no real-world significance.

Veteran student leader U Min Ko Naing and social medial influencers Myo Yan Naung Thein and Ei Pencilo also had their citizenship revoked on Friday.

The junta said in its announcement that it would identify additional perpetrators and take the same action against them.

Daw Zin Mar Aung said the junta’s acts of repression would only make the revolutionary movement stronger.

“This will be the end game for them. And for us, this is a battle that we must win,” she added.

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