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Myanmar

    March 17, 2017

    Myanmar’s authorities must immediately act on the urgent calls made in an interim report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

    “The authorities must immediately act on the Rakhine Commission’s recommendations to grant humanitarian access, end the media blackout in northern Rakhine State, and ensure the perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    On 16 March 2017, the Commission published its interim report, with recommendations to the Myanmar government on “improving the welfare of all people in Rakhine state”. The report’s authors said their recommendations must be met with “urgent action” by the Myanmar authorities.

    “Unfortunately, the commission’s recommendations do not far enough to address the increasingly dire situation on the ground. There is much more the authorities can and should do, including lifting restrictions on freedom of movement for the Rohingya and other Muslims,” said Champa Patel. 

    December 19, 2016

    The Myanmar security forces are responsible for unlawful killings, multiple rapes and the burning down of houses and entire villages in a campaign of violence against Rohingya people that may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International reveals in a new report today.

    Based on extensive interviews with Rohingyas in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as analysis of satellite imagery and photos and videos, the report also documents how dozens of people have been arbitrarily arrested during the military’s vicious and disproportionate security campaign in Rakhine State over the past two months.

    “The Myanmar military has targeted Rohingya civilians in a callous and systematic campaign of violence. Men, women, children, whole families and entire villages have been attacked and abused, as a form of collective punishment,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    December 02, 2016

    Responding to the news that the President of Myanmar has established a commission to investigate violence in Rakhine state since the 9 October attacks on three border police posts, Amnesty International said:

    “An investigation into human rights violations in northern Rakhine state is long overdue. However, it will only be effective if it is independent, impartial and applies international human right law and standards,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “Our findings point to serious human rights violations and a policy of collective punishment against the Rohingya Muslim population in northern Rakhine State. The authorities have gone beyond any reasonable response to the 9 October border police post attacks to target individuals, whole families and whole villages. It is difficult to imagine how a commission chaired by a former army general – and staffed with the Police Chief – can impartially investigate these allegations against the security forces.

    November 24, 2016
    Rohingya refugees and asylum-seekers being detained and forcibly returned Lack of water, food and medical care Both governments preventing thousands from accessing aid Harrowing details of Myanmar military attacks on villages

    As the Myanmar authorities are subjecting the Rohingya Muslim minority to collective punishment, thousands of refugees who have made it across the border to Bangladesh in desperate need of humanitarian assistance are being forcibly pushed back in flagrant violation of international law, Amnesty International said today.

    “The Rohingya are being squeezed by the callous actions of both the Myanmar and Bangladesh authorities. Fleeing collective punishment in Myanmar, they are being pushed back by the Bangladeshi authorities. Trapped between these cruel fates, their desperate need for food, water and medical care is not being addressed,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    October 28, 2016

    Amnesty International is calling for an prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the conduct of Myanmar’s security forces in the restive Rakhine state for human rights violations committed during ongoing security operations in the region.

    The organization has received numerous reports that Myanmar’s security forces operating in the state – home to most of the country’s oppressed Rohingya minority – are alleged to be involved in extra-judicial executions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, destroying people’s homes and crimes involving sexual violence amongst other violations. Ongoing restrictions on access to northern Rakhine State has made it extremely difficult to independently verify such claims.

    October 20, 2016

    The Myanmar government must urgently lift restrictions that are preventing access to humanitarian aid in Rakhine and Kachin states, Amnesty International said today.

    The intensification of the conflict in Kachin State, and the eruption of violence in northern Rakhine State, where a major security operation has led members of the Rohingya and Rakhine communities to flee their homes, has aggravated what was already a serious humanitarian situation in the country.

    “The Myanmar authorities must immediately lift restrictions that are preventing the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies from reaching people in need,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “Both Rakhine and Kachin States already had tens of thousands of people been displaced by violence in recent years. The events of the past few weeks has aggravated that situation, and put more lives at risk.”

    Kachin State

    September 14, 2016

    As Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in the United States to meet with President Barack Obama and attend the United Nations General Assembly, the international community must maintain pressure on Myanmar’s authorities to improve the country’s human rights record, Amnesty International said today.

    Aung San Suu Kyi’s trip to the US comes as the new civilian-led government enters its sixth month in office. In this time, it has taken some steps to address human rights but still faces challenges bequeathed by a half a century of military rule.

    “We have seen encouraging changes as Myanmar eases out from under the shadow of military rule. But there is still a lot more to do to ensure a decisive break with the country’s ugly past of human rights violations,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “For almost a quarter of a century, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted a resolution on human rights in Myanmar. It is important that the same happens this year. The gains made so far have to be consolidated and built upon, not left incomplete or eroded.”

    August 24, 2016

    The establishment of a high-level commission headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is a welcome step towards addressing the human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Amnesty International said today.

    “Today’s announcement is a sign that Myanmar’s authorities are taking the situation in Rakhine state seriously. But it will only have been a worthwhile exercise if it paves the way for the realization of human rights for all people in the state,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    Rakhine state on the western coast of Myanmar is home to many minority groups that have faced decades of human rights violations and abuses, in particular, the persecuted Rohingya minority. The situation there has deteriorated markedly since 2012, when clashes between different groups sparked waves of violence, culminating in scores of deaths, destruction of property and mass displacement.

    July 19, 2016

    Released  20 July 2016 00:01 GMT

    The Myanmar government must immediately order the relocation of a sulphuric acid factory built dangerously close to a village, which is continuing to operate despite grave concerns over its health and environmental impact, said Amnesty International today.

    Residents of Kankone village told Amnesty International on a recent research mission to Myanmar that they are suffering from strong-smelling factory emissions that are causing respiratory, skin and eye problems.

    The emissions, the residents said, have also damaged crops in the area. Soil samples examined by a government department and an environmental NGO in 2013 revealed high levels of sulphates in the soil. The test results, while limited, are a cause for serious concern about the factory and its impacts.

    June 24, 2016

    The Myanmar authorities must undertake a prompt, independent, thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into the violent destruction of buildings in a mosque compound on Thursday in Bago Region in central Myanmar, said Amnesty International.

    “The authorities must take swift action to show that it is treating such incidents against Muslims and other religious minorities seriously. This incident must be immediately and independently investigated and those suspected of involvement must be brought to justice and victims receive effective remedies including reparations,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    On 23 June, an unidentified mob partially destroyed a mosque and other buildings in the mosque compound in Thuyethamain village, Bago Region. According to information received by Amnesty International, the attack erupted after a dispute about a building under construction in the mosque compound.

    April 11, 2016

    Good news! Phyoe Phyoe Aung, who was detained in Myanmar after helping to organize largely peaceful student protests, has finally been released more than one year on.

    Amnesty supporters across the world wrote more than 394,000 letters, emails, tweets and more for Phyoe Phyoe Aung during Write for Rights, our global letter-writing marathon.

    April 08, 2016

    The release of dozens of student protesters in Myanmar is a step forward for human rights that should pave the way for the new government to release all remaining prisoners of conscience and amend or repeal all laws that fuel arbitrary arrests, Amnesty International said.

    The Tharawaddy Court in Myanmar today dropped charges against scores of students facing jail for largely peaceful protests in March 2015. The move came after the new government announced on 7 April that it would work to release all prisoners of conscience as soon as possible.

    “Today’s release of most of the student protesters is a huge step forward for human rights in Myanmar, and we are delighted that these men and women will walk free. It sends a strong message about the new government’s intention to end the cycle of political arrest and detention in Myanmar. We are now looking forward to the release of all other prisoners of conscience - including those students who are facing charges in other courts. The new government must ensure that no prisoner of conscience is left in jail,” said Laura Haigh, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.

    March 24, 2016

    Myanmar’s new government will take office with a historic opportunity to change course on human rights but must break away from the deeply repressive legal framework that for years has fuelled arbitrary arrests and repression, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    New expression meets old repression urges Aung San Suu Kyi and the upcoming National League for Democracy (NLD) government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience still behind bars when it takes office in early April.

    “Myanmar’s legal framework reads like a textbook of repression, and authorities have in recent years increasingly used it to silence dissent,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South East Asia Director.

    “To break the vicious cycle of political arrests, the new government must prioritize reforming the legal code to ensure that speaking out is no longer a crime, and it must release all those imprisoned simply for doing so.

    January 28, 2016

    Myanmar should immediately repeal or amend a new law passed today which could grant former presidents blanket immunity for human rights violations and crimes under international law, said Amnesty International.  

    Myanmar’s outgoing Parliament today voted to pass the Former Presidents Security Law. The original draft had rung alarm bells as it granted former presidents immunity from prosecutions for undefined “actions” committed during their time in office.

    However, it now appears that the proviso “in accordance with the laws” has been added to the final version passed today. While an improvement, the law could still be interpreted as granting immunity to former presidents; including for crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under international law.

    “This law has been rushed through parliament with minimal debate before the new government takes office, raising concerns that the outgoing government is determined to protect its ranks from any form of prosecution.” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International Interim Director South East Asia and Pacific Office.

    November 27, 2015

    Myanmar’s government stands accused of putting profits before human rights at the Letpadaung copper mine, with continued detention of activists and continued refusal to investigate use of white phosphorous against peaceful protestors, said Amnesty International today.

    Three years ago, on 29 November 2012, security forces used white phosphorous, a highly toxic explosive substance, in a deliberate attack on villagers and monks who were protesting the negative impacts of the Letpadaung mine, part of the Monywa copper mining project in the Sagaing region of North-West Myanmar. Between 110 and 150 people were injured, with some suffering horrific burns and lifelong disability.

    The authorities are yet to investigate either the police or mining company Myanmar Wanbao (a subsidiary of Chinese mining company Wanbao), from whose compound part of the attack was launched.

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