Mon 23 Apr 2007
Filed under: Inside Burma,News
Burma’s military government stated its intention to crack down on human rights activists operating in the country in order to maintain the peace, according to a report today in the country’s official press.
The move to restrict activists aims at â€œfulfilling the wishes of the majority to live in peace,â€ the report said.
The announcement-comprising a full page of the official newspaper-follows calls by human rights advocacy groups, including London-based Amnesty International, for Burmese authorities to investigate recent violent attacks on rights activists in the country.
Two members of a group known as the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters-Maung Maung Lay, 37, and Myint Naing, 40, were hospitalized with head injuries following attacks by more than 50 people while the two were working in Hinthada township, Irrawaddy Division in mid-April.
On Sunday, eight people were arrested by plainclothes police, members of the pro-junta Union Solidarity and Development Association and the Pyithu Swan Arr Shin (a paramilitary group) while demonstrating peacefully in a Rangoon suburb.
The eight protesters were calling for lower commodity prices, better healthcare and improved utility services. Htin Kyaw, 44, one of the eight who also took part in an earlier demonstration in late February in downtown Rangoon, was beaten by a mob, according to sources at the scene of the protest.
Junta officials have denounced the efforts of activists as attempts to mislead the public and cause unrest, while characterizing the actions taken by groups such as the USDA and other government-backed organizations as â€œpreventative measures for ensuring community peace and tranquility,â€ the official The New Light of Myanmar reported. â€œThe government will address the situation and take action in a democratic way.â€
Reports from opposition activists in Burma have emerged in recent weeks saying that Burmese authorities have directed the police and other government proxy groups to deal harshly with any sign of unrest in Rangoon.
â€œThis proves that there is no rule of law [in Burma],â€ the 88 Generation Students group said in a statement issued today. â€œWe seriously urge the authorities to prevent violence in the future and to guarantee the safety of every citizen.â€