The National Unity Government (NUG) is planning to work with foreign countries to introduce and expand sanctions against the overseas relatives of Myanmar’s coup council members, according to the NUG’s human rights minister.
The NUG is the interim government formed in late April by lawmakers ousted in Myanmar’s February 1 coup.
“We will coordinate with foreign affairs and immigration departments to sanction the [adult] children of those who are blacklisted,” NUG’s Minister of Human Rights Aung Myo Min said.
Aung Myo Min was a prominent rights activist before taking a Cabinet position within the NUG.
Following widespread killings of protesters by the regime’s armed forces, the US and European Union (EU) are among the international actors who imposed sanctions on members of the military junta and those related to them.
Since the coup, the US has announced sanctions against key junta leaders, the members of two Light Infantry Divisions, and two adult children of military chief Min Aung Hlaing. They are banned from the country, their American assets have been frozen and American citizens are prohibited from working with them.
The EU has imposed similar sanctions against 35 people in Myanmar, including members of the military, its council, and collaborating civilian politicians.
The Myanmar public both at home and abroad have been carrying out “social punishment” campaigns, identifying and exposing the family members of junta members and supporters online. The campaigns call for these individuals to be ostracised from the Myanmar community.
Myanmar nationals held protests in front of Japan’s Toyo University in March calling for the “social punishment” of Nan Lin Lae Oo, a student at Toyo and the daughter of Lt-Gen Kyaw Swar Lin, head of the Myanmar military’s Central Command.
Kyaw Swar Lin is accused of ordering soldiers to open fire on anti-regime protesters in Mandalay. The resulting crackdowns killed several civilians in February and March.
Nan Lin Lae Oo reportedly left Japan following the protests outside her university.
“We were told that Kyaw Swar Lin’s daughter has returned to Myanmar. We do not know exactly how, but she is no longer at the school,” Myat Thu Aung, who is working in Japan, told Myanmar Now.
He said that other Myanmar nationals in the country are lobbying Japanese lawmakers to back sanctions against family members of those behind the coup.
“Our message has arrived inside the Japanese parliament. There are some discussions going on among parliament members who are deciding what to do about those individuals,” Myat Thu Aung said.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in early May that the Australian government’s department of home affairs had launched investigations into 22 relatives of Myanmar’s military council living in Australia, “amid concerns they are either harbouring assets or receiving financial support in the wake of the military coup.”
In the US, Myanmar activists are coordinating with state governments and representatives to gather information about the family members of the coup council members and their American finances.
“There are many steps left regarding action that can be taken by the US government. We are currently working with lawyers and lawmakers,” US-based Myanmar national Nay Tin Myint told Myanmar Now.
The NUG’s human rights minister Aung Myo Min said that his cabinet is also documenting the violence perpetrated by the junta with the aim of filing complaints against military members at the International Criminal Court.
“The consequences would have an impact on many future generations,” he said of an international prosecution.
The military’s armed forces have killed at least 781 people since it seized power from the elected civilian government in a coup on February 1, according to a tally compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).