Human Rights

The MP for Kyauttaw constituency plans to pressure the Union Election Commission (UEC) to avoid a repeat of 2010 when 1,000 Apukwa villagers in Rakhine State were omitted from the voters’ list.

A two-month-old baby was among 78 illegals from Myanmar who were found crammed in a small wooden vessel shortly after it reached the shores of Penang in Teluk Bahang here.

Burmese activists were outraged to learn late last week that the government had entered into a year-long public relations contract with a Washington-based lobbying firm worth US$840,000. Some took their disgust to social media, begging such legitimate questions as: “If reform is genuine and sincere, why would they need to hire a PR firm?”

One year to the day since Burma lost one of its leading intellectual figures, Win Tin, The Irrawaddy looks back on his enduring legacy. A beloved democracy activist, journalist and former political prisoner, Win Tin lives on as an emblem of persistence and bravery for those seeking true democratic change in Burma.

A dialogue involving six of Burma’s leading political players, considered by many to be crucial for Burma’s tenuous democratic transition, was held on April 10. The much-anticipated gathering yielded little in the way of political breakthroughs, however, with the parties agreeing to meet again next month.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has documented that an increasing number of peaceful protesters are being arrested and jailed under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act. Citing the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the country, and ensuring the upcoming 2015 election remain peaceful, authorities, especially Administrative Officers, have filed cases against numerous peaceful protesters under this Act. (more…)

Fighting flared in the ethnic minority strongholds of northern Shan, Kachin and Arakan states last week even as most of Burma was busy celebrating the Buddhist New Year, casting further doubt on the ability of the government and ethnic armed groups in Burma to achieve a meaningful end to decades of hostilities.

Ethnic rebel leaders said the United Wa State Army (UWSA) will host a meeting between ethnic armed groups involved in the drafting of the preliminary nationwide ceasefire accord and several ethnic groups that have not directly participated in the process.

As Lashio town became a refuge for thousands of people fleeing fighting between the government and Kokang rebels around Laukkai on the Chinese border in February and March, religious and community leaders rallied to provide aid and shelter in monasteries, schools and other buildings.

Sixteen Myanmar soldiers died in a major offensive to flush rebels from a strategic hill-top in the northeastern region bordering China, state media said April 16, as fighting with ethnic insurgents nears its tenth week.

As of January 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) Malaysia has registered 151,770 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia, with the majority coming from Myanmar.

Pusaka Benjina Resources, the fishing company at the centre of a recent Indonesian government crackdown, has denied allegations of slavery even after an investigation revealed it had forced hundreds of foreign workers including Myanmar migrants into physical labour, reports the Jakarta Globe on April 15.

Five asylum seekers from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Iran have agreed to be among the first to leave the Pacific island nation of Nauru for Cambodia under a deal that allows refugees rejected by Australia to be resettled in the Southeast Asian country, a refugee advocate said Monday. (more…)

APRIL 22, 2015: ASEAN members of parliament to present report on the Rohingya crisis and the risk of atrocities in Myanmar to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

The longstanding persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar has heightened the risk of atrocities and produced a regional human trafficking epidemic that threatens Myanmar’s political transition, puts strains on regional economies, and supports the rise of extremist ideologies that pose security threats throughout Southeast Asia. On the eve of the ASEAN Summit, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR), an organization of members of parliament from several ASEAN countries, is releasing a report, based on a recent fact-finding mission to Myanmar, which documents the high risk of atrocities there and the failure of ASEAN nations to adequately respond. The report represents a call to action and urges the inclusion of the Rohingya crisis on the ASEAN Summit agenda, the deployment of monitors, and the initiation of an independent investigation into the crisis.

The Burmese civil society is “divided” over the issue of citizenship for Rohingya refugees mostly lodged in Bangladesh, a Myanmar political analyst has said in a Dhaka conference.

“Bangladesh should appoint a PR in Myanmar for improving relations,” Khin Zaw Win says, “and solve refugee issue using third party, UN or others”. (more…)

An internationally recognised Rangoon artist was arrested on Tuesday, after casting a written curse on the county’s government, police and military. He was later released. (more…)

This week in Myanmar the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw passed a law that gives regional governments the right to restrict how many children a woman has, legally enshrining a human rights breach found in few other countries in the world – with the notable exception of China.

When pondering media repression in this region, it is not the blatant cases of molesting, detaining and jailing journalists that inflame us most, but the craftier controls enforced by backroom bureaucrats and company bagmen.

Amnesty International
International Secretariat
Peter Benenson House, 1 Easton Street
London WC1X ODW, United Kingdom

Thein Sein
President’s Office
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar

14 April 2015

Your Excellency,


I am writing to urge you, as President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, not to sign into law the Population Control Healthcare Bill or any other legislation which would entrench discrimination on religious and gender grounds or which could result in other human rights violations, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to privacy, children’s rights and the right to freedom of expression. (more…)

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