Human Rights


The Burma Campaign UK has called for the NLD-led government to abide by the United Nations ruling that Lahpai Gam is detained illegally and release him immediately, according to a statement on 26 May.

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Last week a colleague and I were in northern Shan State covering the conflict there between the Myanmar Tatmadaw and various ethnic armed groups.

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Burma’s parliament should amend a proposed law on public protest to better protect rights to peaceful assembly and free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. The Peaceful Processions and Peaceful Assembly Act improves upon existing Burmese law, but retains criminal penalties and contains overly broad and vague restrictions on speech contrary to international standards.

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The Rangoon divisional government plans to relocate squatters and provide them with temporary housing, said Rangoon Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein on Wednesday at a press conference.

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Than Than Htay, a 50-year-old former political prisoner, feels insecure whenever one of her family members yells at her cat, a companion she brought with her upon her release from prison five years ago.

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Most labour disputes concern allegations of unfair dismissal, the Department of Labour Relations has disclosed. Of the 84 cases heard by the Arbitration Council so far this year, 65 were about claims that workers had been unjustly fired, officials said.

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As a discussion in parliament continued yesterday over proposed amendments to the law requiring citizens to report overnight guests, military and elected MPs found themselves on opposite sides.

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A court in Burma sentenced a young poet to six months in jail on Tuesday for defaming former president Thein Sein, making him one of the first political activists sentenced since Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took power in April.

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Both houses of Myanmar’s parliament have approved without objection a bill revoking the Law to Safeguard the State against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts which was enacted over four decades ago.

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Burma’s Upper House of Parliament has decided to review a bill to replace the controversial Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law, so as to align it more closely with international human rights standards, after criticism from rights groups that it retained several provisions used to stifle dissent in recent years.

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Two weeks ago, three Arakanese women from Kyaukphyu Township in northern Arakan met in an unlikely place: Shweli, a Chinese town also known as Ruili, on the border with Burma.

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I belong to an ethnic group that, according to my government, does not exist. In the past few weeks, ultra-nationalist protestors have proudly proclaimed, “There are no Rohingya in our country.” And then the NLD government requested foreign embassies to refrain from using the term “Rohingya”, reportedly stating that “the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems”. Their statement was disappointing because it was a capitulation to the hardliners and because I, as a Rohingya, want nothing more than national reconciliation. I want to live in a Myanmar where all of Myanmar’s peoples can live together in equality and peace.

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Burmese government troops fighting ethnic armed groups in northern Shan State have been accused of abducting and torturing local villagers suspected of being rebel fighters.

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The UNAIDS country coordinator has urged the Myanmar government, legislative bodies and people, not to discriminate against the LGBT community and to treat them in a dignified manner.

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A New York Times editorial this week slammed what it called “Aung San Suu Kyi’s Cowardly Stance on the Rohingya,” in reaction to a request earlier this month from Suu Kyi’s Foreign Ministry to the US Embassy to avoid using the term “Rohingya.” The appeal came after an embassy statement last month offering condolences over the drowning of more than 20 displaced Muslims in Arakan State provoked a demonstration outside the embassy building for using the contentious term.
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Burma Campaign UK has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Maung Saungkha and urged the Myanmar government to reform the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee and to ensure the release of Maung Saungkha and all remaining political prisoners in Myanmar.
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Amnesty International has urged the National League for Democracy to go much further on planned changes to the Peaceful Assembly Law, warning proposed amendments could result in more activists being imprisoned.
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A proposal submitted to the Lower House of Burma’s Parliament late last week by a lawmaker of the Arakan National Party (ANP) urged the government to “resolve citizenship issues” in Burma in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Law. The proposal suggested that a nationwide citizenship verification drive be undertaken—although it remained vague on the focus and scope of the proposed exercise.
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Without using the word “Rohingya” directly, U.S. ambassador Scot Marciel underlined the right to self-identity for the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State at his speech at the American Center in Yangon yesterday. “They get to choose what they want to be called”, he said.
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The government has resumed a controversial citizenship verification process in Rakhine State, an immigration official has revealed, amid pressure from Rakhine politicians to implement the 1982 Citizenship Act in the restive state.
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