Human Rights


A human rights group in Karen State is calling for the demilitarisation of former conflict areas to ensure that Burma’s ongoing peace process is “stable and long lasting”.

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The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has long had an office in Myanmar that focused on ending forced labour, a practice used by the former military regime, but the ILO’s work also includes supporting freedom of association, safe labour migration and ending child labour.

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Dr. Ma Thida has served as a dissident author, editor, publisher, physician, political aide and activist—often at the same time. It is well known that she spent nearly six years in prison in the 1990s for “distributing unlawful literature”—among other charges—as an active member of Burma’s student-led democracy movement in 1988. In prison, she suffered a myriad of health issues, including tuberculosis. Her release on humanitarian grounds was not in small part due to international pressure from organizations like PEN International, of which she is now a board member.

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Burma’s Minister for Home Affairs Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe told reporters on Monday that prisoners under investigation for recent attacks on border police in Arakan State are being treated in accordance with the law.

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One can make a strong argument that the ongoing insurgent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has been in the making for some time now.

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The police, Burma border guard police (BGP) and army have turned northern Arakan – Maungdaw and Rathedaung – in to a hell for Rohingya, crackdowns on innocent Rohingya civilians following attacks by unidentified assailants on three separate police outposts – the BGP headquarters, Kyein Chaung and Koe Tan Kauk- in northern Arakan on Sunday 9 October, according to Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO) press statement on October 11.

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On October 6, the President’s Office issued a notice saying the human rights commission had let four of its members, Zaw Win, Dr. Nyan Zaw, Mya Mya and Dr.Than New, voluntarily resign from their posts following the recent outcry over two abused teenage maids who were encouraged by the commission to accept compensation money from the perpetrators.

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Aung Myo Min is the executive director of Equality Myanmar, an NGO that promotes human rights, gender equality, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

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Four Myanmar fishermen who were enslaved on Thai fishing boats and later abandoned on remote Indonesian islands have recounted how they again became trapped on a trawler – this time in their home country.

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Burma’s State Counselor and Foreign Affairs Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said on Wednesday that she would not accuse any individual or organization before obtaining evidence regarding the culprits of the recent violent attack in Arakan State.

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Sectarian tensions have simmered for decades here on the country’s western frontier with Bangladesh, and they exploded with deadly violence in 2012 when mobs of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists drove minority Muslim Rohingyas from their homes. Four years later, about 120,000 people remain displaced and, with hostilities as high as ever, the government is struggling to help them return home.

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A team led by Information Minister Dr.Pe Myint will visit Rakhine State from October 11 to 14 to conduct briefings on attacks on police outposts in Maungdaw and Rethetaung townships in order to restore stability and to inform people about the truth, according to a government press statement.

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Last week a series of attacks on Myanmar’s border posts attracted little international attention. But they should have. These assaults in which nine Myanmar policemen died, marked the start of a violent reaction by the Rohingya people to their continuing official repression, even in a country that is now run by a much-admired Nobel Peace Laureate.

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When it became obvious last November that the National League for Democracy was heading for a landslide election victory, party leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi urged her supporters not to gloat. After becoming de facto government leader earlier this year, Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken with national reconciliation in mind. She has rarely, if ever, publicly criticised the former ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, the Tatmadaw or any other elements that have displayed antagonism toward the NLD.

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At least 24 people were believed on Monday to have died in western Myanmar after unknown assailants attacked police outposts on Sunday near the border with Bangladesh.

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In 2010, Police Sergeant Ko Oo led an operation against an alcohol shop on the outskirts of Yangon, in the city’s northern district. The shop was licensed to sell zay ayet – a clear, locally-made potent spirit that is drunk by many because it costs just K500 for a 700-millilitre bottle – but had been breaching the terms of its permit by selling other types as well.

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Fishermen saved from slave-like conditions in Indonesia’s fishing industry called on Burma’s government to assist them with claiming owed salaries on Wednesday.

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Four members of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission have submitted their resignations today, according to an announcement from the President’s Office.

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The Kachin National Organisation is calling on the United Nations to investigate what it terms ‘crimes against humanity’ in Kachin State.

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Employing an unusual interpretation of the criminal justice system, Myanmar’s head of police said “minor cases” can be negotiated extra-judicially with a settlement for the victim, but more “well-known” criminal cases with nationwide repercussions should see trial.

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