Fri 30 Jan 2015
Filed under: International,News
The Myanmar authorities and donors are “sleepwalking arm-in-arm into an electoral disaster in 2015,” says Mr Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, as his NGO releases its customary yearly survey of the state of human rights around the world.
“World Report 2015,” issued on January 29, says Myanmar’s human rights situation declined in 2014, setting back progress made since the reform process began three years, claiming donors and governments have done little to pressure the army and government to keep reforms on track.
“After two years of steady if uneven progress, Burma’s human rights situation was a car crash in 2014,” said Mr Adams. “The army is still calling the shots on major issues, while the government seems confident it has satisfied other countries to keep the aid and investment dollars flowing.”
The 656-page report on the troubled landscape of human rights around the world includes critical coverage of Myanmar including the situation for the Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State, the backtracking on a drive for media reform, and the continuing problem of political prisoners. It includes concern voiced over bills introduced in 2014 that seek to promote Buddhism over other religions, including state control over religious conversion, inter-faith marriage, polygamy and family planning.
The US-based NGO warns of trouble ahead over the planned 2015 elections. The army and government dismissed calls to amend the 2008 constitution, especially sections on eligibility for the presidency and the military quota of 25 percent of parliamentary seats. This called into question the possibility of free and fair elections in 2015 and the establishment of a democratic government, the group says in its press release.
“Unless constitutional changes are made, the donors will wake up after election day to a government still controlled by the military. They need to press now for real human rights and democratic reforms,” Mr Adams says.