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Myanmar

    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.

    November 05, 2015
    TAKE ACTION FOR STUDENT ACTIVIST PHYOE PHYOE AUNG BY JOINING WRITE FOR RIGHTS!

    The jailing of peaceful activists, restrictions on free speech, discrimination and the political disenfranchisement of minority groups – in particular the persecuted Rohingya– seriously undermine elections in Myanmar, Amnesty International said ahead of the vote on 8 November.

    October 15, 2015

    Myanmar’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a peace activist and a young woman who have been arrested for mocking the country’s army chief on Facebook, Amnesty International said.

    Peace activist, Patrick Kum Jaa Lee, 43, was arrested yesterday evening at his home in Yangon for a Facebook post showing someone stepping on a photo of Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. His phone and computer were confiscated and the post was deleted. He is currently detained in a Yangon police station. A few days earlier Chaw Sandi Tun, a young woman, was arrested for a post mocking the military.

    “It is outrageous to think that someone could face years in jail for nothing but a harmless Facebook post. Both of them must be released immediately and the investigations against them must be dropped. They join a growing number of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar,” said Laura Haigh, Amnesty International’s Myanmar Researcher.

    July 30, 2015

    The release of at least 11 prisoners of conscience in a mass prisoner amnesty in Myanmar today is a step in the right direction, but authorities must immediately clear the country’s jails of the scores of peaceful activists who still remain behind bars, Amnesty International said.

    The Myanmar authorities today released 6,966 people as part of a Presidential prisoner amnesty. Among those freed are at least 11 men who Amnesty International has designated prisoners of conscience – including journalists, peaceful protesters and community leaders from the repressed Muslim Rohingya minority.

    “We are delighted that these 11 men can now walk free and return to their families, even if nothing can make up for the ordeal they have had to go through. But the fact remains that none of them should have been imprisoned in the first place,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    June 16, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs  GMT  17 June 2015

    Myanmar’s authorities are intensifying restrictions on media as the country approaches crucial national elections, scheduled to be held in November, using threats, harassment and imprisonment to stifle independent journalists and outlets, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

    Caught between state censorship and self-censorship: Prosecution and intimidation of media workers in Myanmar shows how, despite Myanmar’s much-touted “political opening” since 2011, authorities are relying on old and new methods to intimidate media and restrict freedom of expression. The clampdown has intensified over the past year – today at least 10 media workers are languishing in prison, all of them jailed in the last 12 months. All are prisoners of conscience.

    June 02, 2015

    The guilty verdict against an opposition activist in Myanmar today for “insulting religion” is a serious blow to both freedom of expression and religious tolerance in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Htin Lin Oo, a writer and former information officer of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar’s main opposition party, was today convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with hard labour by a court in Sagaing region.

    The charge on which he was convicted relate to a speech he gave in October 2014 in which he criticized some groups for using religion to stoke discrimination. A 10-minute edited version of the speech circulated on social media soon after, causing outrage among Buddhist nationalist groups that led to his subsequent arrest. He was acquitted of a second charge of “wounding religious feelings”.

    May 02, 2015

    Released 3 May 2015 00.01 am Myanmar time / 2 May 05.31pm GMT

    At least a dozen media workers in Myanmar will spend World Press Freedom Day (3 May) behind bars as authorities are leading an intensifying crackdown on journalists, Amnesty International said in a statement today.

    The past year in Myanmar has been marked by an increasingly restrictive climate for media, as authorities have resorted to old tactics of harassing and imprisoning journalists.

    “The fact that 12 media workers will spend World Press Freedom Day languishing in prison speaks volumes about the reality journalists face in the country. The past years have seen a vibrant media scene emerge in Myanmar, but the authorities are doing their best to undermine this. Those journalists who dare to report on topics considered ‘sensitive’ by the government or military are harassed and imprisoned,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

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