Human Rights


As they put on their new dresses and checked their make-up, Nang Kyan Khan and Nang Htwe Yin were excited about the festival ahead. At 7pm on December 28 the two pre-school teachers said goodbye to their families in remote Mong Paine village and left in a taxi – a rare treat – which the fun-loving 20-year-olds had hired to take them over the rough tracks of northern Shan and into neighbouring Nant Onn. They never made the celebrations.
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Three days after giving birth to her child this month, Wint War Tun, a recently elected National League for Democracy (NLD) MP from Karenni State, had to attend the first day of the Lower House session.
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The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) has urged authorities to relocate squatters by more humanitarian means after large-scale evictions were carried out recently in Rangoon’s Mingaladon Township and Mandalay Division’s Pyin Oo Lwin.
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The Burma Army has vowed to investigate its own after a video surfaced online showing senior officers beating their junior counterparts at a training facility in footage that stirred passionate reactions on social media this week.
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Australian officials on Friday refused to deny allegations that authorities paid crew on a people-smuggling boat US$30,000 to return 65 asylum-seekers to Indonesia, while insisting that no laws had been broken.
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I always thought fathers who have daughters would be supportive of women’s rights. After all, would they want their girls to face the same unfair practices their grandmothers did?
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Back in 1988, when high school student Win Maw Oo was shot by security forces during the popular protests against Burma’s military dictatorship, she lived just long enough to make a final wish: She asked her parents to skip part of the traditional Buddhist rites at her funeral. Usually, the relatives of the deceased perform a “merit-sharing ceremony,” which aims to liberate the dead person’s soul and guarantee a better life in the cycle of rebirth. But Win Maw Oo insisted that she wanted to see the victory of democracy before she moved on to her next life, so she asked her family to make sure that her soul would remain bound to this plane of existence until that happened. When I attended the six-month commemoration of her death in early 1989, I saw how her parents fulfilled their daughter’s wish by refusing to carry out the traditional merit-sharing ritual.
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A rights activist based in Thailand, Andy Hall is an advisor to the Migrant Worker Rights Network, and has been advising the defense of the Koh Tao murder trial. He said the new government needs to root out corruption in the migration sector.
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U Gambira, the former monk who was at the forefront of the “Saffron Revolution” in 2007, was denied bail today in the first hearing of his trial at Mahar Aung Mya Township Court in Mandalay. U Gambira had been arrested at his hotel room in Mandalay on 19 January and accused of entering Burma illegally from Thailand.
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Detained critics of Burma’s controversial National Education Law are facing mounting legal pressure for their campaign against the legislation last year, with one student leader saying she was slapped with additional “illegal assembly” charges by at least five Rangoon courts.
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The Rakhine State government has started building new homes in six villages in Kyauktaw and Mrauk-U townships for civilians who fled fighting between the Arakan Army (AA) and the military last month.
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According to chief instructor Karin Deckenbach, the reform programme to improve the human rights performance of the Myanmar Police Force is underway.
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The detained students and activists from the democracy education boycott column appeared at the Thayawady Township court on February 2, where they called on the new NLD-dominated parliament to create new laws to protect human rights in Myanmar.
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Set up five years ago, Myanmar’s National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) was part of a charm offensive mounted by President U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government that succeeded in attracting international publicity and funding. Any legitimacy it may have held has taken a battering since.
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A recently announced plan by the Arakan State government to resettle dozens of conflict-displaced households appears to have been optimistic, according to a civil society leader who claims the state had grossly underestimated costs.
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An official of the Ministry of Religious Affairs has cautioned that a graphic video posted on social media by nationalist monk U Wirathu dramatising the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by Muslim men could lead to court action.
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The Lanmadaw Township court has filed additional charges against four jailed Chinese embassy protesters under Section 18.
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Nat Nat Nwe was once arrested, stripped, beaten and held in a cell for 14 days just because she tried to walk home alone at night. The quiet 40-year-old is convinced she was targeted because she is transgender.
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The new speaker of Myanmar’s Lower House of Parliament, Win Myint, promised better performance in terms of parliamentary laws, bylaws, rules and regulations and an end to corruption for the sake of democracy and the human rights of the people.
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Arsenic above the safe levels permitted for human consumption has been found in groundwater in Arakan State and Ayeyawady and Bago divisions.
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