Hide in the mosquito-infested jungles of Myanmar in a makeshift tent with her father, her young world is torn.
“L want to sleep with Mommy, but the police took her,” she said in an audio clip recorded by her father, Soe Htay, on his phone and sent to CNN in begin August.
He says to be family pays now the price for his activism. His wife and teenager daughter remain behind bars, and his youngest daughter says she was forced into a half to sit, half standing pose during the 18 days she was in detention — an emphatic position that the United Nations Committee against Torture considers a form of torture.
The military did not respond to CNN’s detailed emails and texts over the girl detention and treatment.
But Soe Htay and his daughter are not alone.
In the months since the coup, the junta has had a bloody campaign against to be opponents, to shoot dead protesters in the street and holding thousands of doctors, activists, journalists, artists — anyone it considers a enemy.
Sometimes the junta can’t find her opponents. And more and more often the military goes after someone else group of people sow fear among the population and let them fall in rule: the family members of dissidents, according to Tom Andrews, the UN special reporter on human rights in Burma.
“To be just horrible, it’s horrible, it’s outrageous, it’s completely unacceptable and the international community should to be up in poor,” he said. “That’s the cheeky… reality goods facing in this country and especially that the people of the Myanmar are facing.”
crack down on protests
In June, months after he quit met protest for fear of being shot by the military, soldiers came to his home in Central Mogok . from Myanmar city until arrest him, Soe Htay told CNN from his hideout in the jungle.
They raided his house four times, but he had already in hiding with his two sons, he said, giving his immediate… family behind.
On the final visit in In June they arrested his wife and two daughters instead.
“This is a hostage-arrest’, he said. “Since she got my… family when they couldn’t arrest I … my youngest daughter wasn’t even 5 yet.”
Su Htet Waing celebrated her fifth birthday in detentionsaid Soe Htay. she liked out on June 30 after 18 days as part of a crowd prisoner Edition. Her mother and sister remain behind bars, sentenced to three years in prisonsaid Soe Htay. local media reported that the couple in was charged with incitement — a common punishment of pro-democracy activists.
While Su Htet Waing was being held, she was forced to de half-sitting, half-standing position, die caused her “mental trauma,” said Soe Htay.
Andrews, the UN special rapporteur, said he heard of many similar cases of children to be cheeky punished for the political views of their parents in the months since the military junta took check.
“The stress position is outrageous,” he said.
“I’ve seen reports” of children be beaten, reports of children, of iron bars die burn their legs, I’ve seen them stuck for several days … I am speechless and indignant and really angry at what despicable behavior we see.”
United Nations Committee Against Torture views stress positions as conflicting met the Convention Against Torture.
Khaing Zin Thaw also tried to fight against the junta — and like Soe Htay it’s her family that’s paying price.
the 21-year-old used hair role like a social media influencer to raise money for the civil disobedience movement, die thousands saw of people quit their jobs to destabilize the coup and economy. She helped raise donations for die who had lost their jobs and were struggling come. Khaing Zin Thaw also made messages supporting the movement on Facebook, where she has about 700,000 euros followers.
But that soon put her on the radar of the military.
Shortly after the February coup, left home for safety and has been moving since then constant in Myanmar. But in April she got an alarming phone call.
“An of my friends called me and told me there were military trucks outside mine house. they shouted back half an hour later and you said parents have been arrested,” she said.
Her parents didn’t do anything wrong, she said, her voice wavering. Her father not even know how until use facebook.
Her sister-in-law was also taken in her placeKhaing Zin Thaw said, but has since been released.
“I heard that my father was tortured and did not ask for his medication…sometimes my mind goes blank and i feel like I’m going crazy,” she said, adding that both her parents to be in charged with incentive.
The military did not respond to CNN’s detailed requests for comment.
At least 182 people, including children, have been arrested in place of their family members since the coup — and 141 of them remain in detention, according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
The group characterizes these arrests as hostage-taking, and emphasizes the military’s actions are in offence of international law.
Instead, they are sent to interrogation centers, police custody, military barracks of offices of the junta.
“The children who be held as hostage in the same cells as their family. But exact details inside detention are hard to confirm’ said AAPP in a written interview. “As far as we know, hostages are not mixed with other pro-democracy detentions.”
AAPP said that because the junta makes this distinction, it “clearly understands what it is doing, taking hostage.”
The group warns the practice likely to increase.
Myanmar has gone to the edge of collapse since the coup, with the junta die a bloody battle campaign against nationwide protests and strikes.
The economy is in snatches, and a deadly The Covid-19 wave is destroying the nation. civil revolts in the cities and border regions have declared people’s war on the military, with local militias carry out to attack in guerrilla style on military forces.
“(Hostage) is a strategy by the junta to cause ‘worry’, it’s part of it of the junta is wider campaign of terror fought against the population,” the group said. “(It) will only get worse as the junta loses more and more on the front lines, with to attack in the cities like Yangon and Mandalay also escalates.”
The practice of holding relatives is meant to suppress dissent, but it doesn’t seem to work.
Far away from her happy childhood with them family home, little Su Htet Waing spends her days with her father, exposed to monsoon season in Myanmar, mosquitoes and the risk of disease.
Soe Htay says he believes that military is still hunting for him so he must stay in a makeshift tent in the jungle. To be daughter has her backpack ready in if they have to run again.
He is determined to carry on met fight for democracy in each way he can, despite his seemingly desperate situation.
Soe Htay was told by friends in the pro-democracy movement, who drip information out of the prisons and during prisoner releases, that are daughter and wife had been separated since their conviction.
He is also he has been told daughter caught Covid-19 but has since recovered.
“The way I see it,’ he said sorrow will be alone healed after the revolution… my only thought is to root out the dictatorship, for now I must bury my bitterness and hatred in the revolution.”
Khaing Zin Thaw said she is now in “a vault placebut must continue moving for fear of to be followed down By the military.
“I’m sad and depressed, and I’m frustrated because I can’t do anything for mine parents in jail,” she said.
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