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Myanmar

    December 07, 2018

    Responding to the guilty verdict and six-month prison sentences handed to three activists today for their role in a peaceful protest in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Response, Tirana Hassan, said:

    “Today’s appalling verdict against three peaceful activists shows the government’s determination to silence any criticism of their actions in this deadly conflict – and repress any peaceful opposition to the military whatsoever.

    “These jail sentences reflect a pattern of continued attacks, intimidation, threats and prosecutions against human rights defenders, journalists and community leaders who peacefully speak out in defence of civilian victims of military operations. It sends a chilling warning to any humanitarian actor or activist who wants to tell the truth about the Myanmar military’s brutality in Kachin and northern Shan states and beyond.

    November 15, 2018
    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 132/18 HERE   UPDATE of November 15, 2018:

    On October 30, Aung Ko Htwe was acquitted of the latest in a series of charges against him after he gave a media interview about being forcibly recruited by the Myanmar military when he was only 13. Despite this acquittal, he remains in prison serving two years and six months on other politically motivated charges. He should be immediately and unconditionally released. Please take action as described in the original Urgent Action below.

     

    Former child solider Aung Ko Htwe is serving two years and six months in prison in connection with a media interview he gave about his experiences in the Myanmar military. He faces a further three years in prison after he protested his conviction. He should be immediately and unconditionally released. 

    November 15, 2018

    Since August 2017, more than 720,000 Rohingya have fled a vicious campaign of violence by the Myanmar security forces and sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

    This week some refugees could be returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar under an agreement reached earlier between the two governments that sidestepped safeguards mandated under international law.

    Here, Amnesty International explains how this situation has come about and why the forcible return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar is unlawful, being premature, and putting their lives, liberty and other key human rights at risk.

    Who are the Rohingya people?

    The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar. Until recently, more than a million lived mostly in Rakhine State, in the west of the country, on the border with Bangladesh.

    November 14, 2018

    Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities must immediately halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

    A first wave of organized returns could begin as soon as 15 November, following the announcement of a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar last month which falls short of international obligations.

    “This is a reckless move which puts lives at risk,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.

    “These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled.”

    High risk of forced returns

    On 30 October, representatives of the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments announced they had agreed to start repatriation of some of the more than 720,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 2017.

    November 12, 2018

    Amnesty International announced today that it has withdrawn its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of the Myanmar leader’s shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for.

    On 11 November, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her the organization is revoking the 2009 award. Half way through her term in office, and eight years after her release from house arrest, Naidoo expressed the organization’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar, citing her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression.

    “As an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself,” wrote Kumi Naidoo.

    September 27, 2018

    Responding to the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution on Myanmar in Geneva today, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said:

    “Today’s resolution is an important step forward in the fight for accountability in Myanmar, making the prospect of justice possible for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities who have suffered atrocities at the hands of the country’s security forces.

    “While the UN Security Council remains bogged down by politics, the Human Rights Council has stepped up to the challenge with this serious and constructive approach to pave the way for justice. It sends a clear message of solidarity to the victims and survivors, as well as a stark warning to Myanmar’s military that their crimes will be punished.”
    China’s attempt to block the resolution was stopped – with 35 states voting to adopt, three voting against and seven abstaining.

    September 18, 2018

    GENEVA (18 September 2018) – The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar on Tuesday released the full 440-page account of the findings of its 15-month examination of the situation in three states in Myanmar. The report also makes dozens of recommendations, including to the United Nations and the international community and to the Government of Myanmar. It reiterates the Fact-Finding Mission’s call for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and his top military leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

    “Peace will not be achieved while the Tatmadaw remains above the law,” Marzuki Darusman, chair of the Fact-Finding Mission stated. “The Tatmadaw is the greatest impediment to Myanmar’s development as a modern democratic nation. The Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw, Min Aung Hlaing, and all the current leadership must be replaced, and a complete restructuring must be undertaken to place the Tatmadaw under full civilian control. Myanmar’s democratic transition depends on it.”

    September 13, 2018

    Responding to comments by Myanmar's State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the World Economic Forum in Hanoi today defending the conviction of Reuters journalists Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said:

    “This is a disgraceful attempt by Aung San Suu Kyi to defend the indefensible. To say that this case had ‘nothing to do with freedom of expression’ and that Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo ‘were not jailed for being journalists’ is a deluded misrepresentation of the facts.

    “These two men were convicted under a draconian, colonial-era law that was deliberately misused to halt their investigations into the appalling atrocities that took place in Rakhine State. From start to finish, the case was nothing more than a brazen attack on freedom of expression and independent journalism in Myanmar

    September 07, 2018

    Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said:

    “During the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children were deported to Bangladesh. This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages. The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable.

    “Forced deportation is just one of a raft of crimes committed against the Rohingya. Amnesty International has documented extensively how the military’s crackdown also included murder, rape, torture, forced starvation, the targeted burning of Rohingya villages and the use of landmines.

    August 27, 2018

    A blistering report released by the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) today brought yet more damning evidence of the Myanmar security forces’ atrocity crimes against the Rohingya and against ethnic minorities in northern Myanmar, Amnesty International said.

    The FFM – a body of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council – released its key findings and recommendations today in Geneva, with a more detailed report to follow in the coming weeks.

    “This report, which adds to a mountain of evidence of crimes under international law committed by the military, shows the urgent need for independent criminal investigation and is clear that the Myanmar authorities are incapable of bringing to justice those responsible,” said Tirana Hassan, Director of Crisis Response at Amnesty International.

    August 25, 2018

    World leaders’ failure to act has allowed the Myanmar security forces’ perpetrators of crimes against humanity to remain at large for a year after their murderous campaign against the Rohingya prompted an exodus of epic proportions, Amnesty International said today.

    More than 700,000 Rohingya women, men, and children fled from northern Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh after 25 August 2017, when the Myanmar security forces launched a widespread as well as systematic assault on hundreds of Rohingya villages. The onslaught came in the wake of a series of attacks on security posts by a Rohingya armed group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

    July 09, 2018

    Responding to today’s decision by a Yangon court to formally charge Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, with breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Response, said:

    “This is a black day for press freedom in Myanmar. The court’s decision to proceed with this farcical, politically motivated case has deeply troubling and far-reaching implications for independent journalism in the country.

    “In their investigations of military operations in Rakhine State, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were simply doing what journalists are meant to do – expose the truth and hold the powerful to account. Charging them under this draconian law – even after widespread national and international condemnation – is a clear sign that the authorities are intent on silencing critical voices. It also serves notice to other journalists working in the country that speaking out comes with serious consequences.

    June 29, 2018
    What is this report about?

    Early in the morning on 25 August 2017, a Rohingya armed group known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched coordinated attacks on security force posts in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, the Myanmar security forces, led by the Myanmar Army, unleashed a vicious campaign of violence that forced more than 702,000 women, men and children – 80% of the Rohingya population of northern Rakhine State at that time – to flee to Bangladesh. Violations committed during these operations included deportation, unlawful killings, rape, torture, village burnings and forced starvation.

    June 26, 2018

    Myanmar: Military top brass must face justice for crimes against humanity targeting Rohingya

    Report names 13 officials with a key role in murder, rape and deportation of Rohingya Myanmar’s security forces committed nine distinct types of crimes against humanity; responsibility goes to the top of the chain of command Calls for accountability, including a UN Security Council referral to the ICC

    Amnesty International has gathered extensive, credible evidence implicating Myanmar’s military Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and 12 other named individuals in crimes against humanity committed during the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State.

    June 20, 2018

    On World Refugee Day, Amnesty International calls on the international community to urgently step up international assistance for more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District as they face severe monsoon weather.

    More than 200,000 Rohingya refugees are at risk of landslides and floods during the current monsoon season, according to the United Nations. Over the past five weeks, more than 28,000 people have been affected as 133 landslides have damaged more than 3,000 shelters.

    “The Rohingya refugees languishing in the overcrowded and threadbare camps in Cox’s Bazar are in urgent need of international assistance. A mere fifth of the United Nation’s appeal has been committed so far. The world cannot stand by while Bangladesh is left to shoulder the responsibility alone,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

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