Parliament


The Myanmar Parliament’s passage of two bills targeting religious minorities constitutes an attack on religious freedom and threatens to stoke inter-communal tensions and violence less than three months ahead of critical general elections, said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).
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Burma, which has imposed a temporary ban on rice exports after heavy rains and floods hit the northern and western regions of the country, may not resume rice exports until November, local sources said, quoting an announcement by the Ministry of Commerce.
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Senior leaders of five ethnic armed groups will soon reconvene with government negotiators, representatives said, following the lackluster close of the latest round of peace talks on Friday.
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But is that the case in Myanmar?

On July 25, opposition National League for Democracy chair Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited Ayeyarwady Region to hold electoral public talks in Kyaiklat township and respond to questions from the audience.
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Chairman of the Union Election Commission U Tin Aye received former Australian prime minister and President of Asia Society Policy Institute Mr Kevin Rudd in Nay Pyi Taw on 28 July.

They discussed election issues including compilation of voters’ list, voter’s education and inviting local and international observers to the general election.

http://www.moi.gov.mm/npe/nlm/

Following months of equivocation, the National League for Democracy (NLD) has firmly ruled itself in for the November election. After struggling to survive decades of political repression, the unlawful detention of its leaders and the extrajudicial killing of its members, the party can reasonably expect the year’s end to mark their finest hour—should the poll be conducted in a free and fair manner.
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Blasphemy laws, such as section 295(a) of these countries’ penal codes, are inconsistent with human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; the right to liberty; and the right to equality before the law without discrimination. They are also applied arbitrarily, and accused people are often punished after unfair trials.
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The Union Solidarity and Development Party leadership has rejected requests from key ministers in President U Thein Sein’s cabinet to shift to safe seats in the November 8 election.
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The rector of Yangon University has confirmed he will be retiring at the end of this month, edged out by civil service regulations just prior to an anticipated overhaul of the education system under the amended National Education Law.
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Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Thursday morning to express frustration about the pace of change in Myanmar.
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Myanmar’s parliament is “playing with fire” by passing a bill regulating the right of women from the country’s Buddhist majority to marry men from outside their religion, an international human rights group said Wednesday according to a report by ABC on 8 July.
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The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the killing of Mr. Johnny.

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

MMR 003 / 0715 / OBS 057
Assassination
Burma / Myanmar
July 9, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Burma / Myanmar.
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The Former Political Prisoners Society yesterday requested a presidential pardon for all political prisoners and jailed activists so they can be released ahead of the general election scheduled for November.
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Myanmar’s speaker of parliament said on Wednesday that a nationwide referendum would be held during the general elections later this year on a constitutional amendment that lawmakers passed last week regarding the wording of the requirements for top political office holders.
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As opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi makes her way across Myanmar, campaigning for her party ahead of this fall’s national election, she is noticeably skipping at least one state: Rakhine, home to the Rohingya Muslims at the center of Southeast Asia’s refugee crisis.
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As Myanmar heads toward national elections scheduled for November, the government of President Thein Sein is intensifying attempts to thwart the democratic aspirations of Myanmar’s people.
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Aung San Suu Kyi’s path to the presidency of Myanmar remains blocked, after parliament nixed crucial constitutional amendments. Inside the country and abroad, many are wondering what is next for the Nobel peace laureate and her opposition party, the National League for Democracy.
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Burma’s President Thein Sein is scheduled to make an official state visit to Mongolia later this month, at the invitation of Mongolian President Taskhiagiin Elbegdorj.
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A military representative on Wednesday attempted to pour cold water on the aspirations of those who want to see Burma’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi one day become president, as lawmakers convened for a second day of deliberations on proposed constitutional amendments.
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It is not uncommon for religious authority to make a moral intervention in secular affairs. This month’s encyclical on climate change by Pope Francis and the mobilization of Buddhist monks during Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution are two recent examples where spiritual leaders considered it necessary to participate in addressing universal problems for the sake of the common good.
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