Asia - pacific

Rights group condemns jailing of activists in Myanmar

Head of rights group says jailing 3 anti-war activists in Myanmar show its failure to establish independent judiciary

Handan Kazancı   | 10.12.2018
Rights group condemns jailing of activists in Myanmar

ANKARA

A London-based rights group on Monday condemned jailing of three anti-war activists in Myanmar for speaking out against alleged crimes perpetrated by the military.

In a statement, the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) called for the immediate release of Nang Pu, Lum Zawng and Zau Jat, all jailed for defaming the military during anti-war protests.

The rights group said that Dec. 10 marks the UN’s adaptation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “a landmark document to which Burma is a signatory,” using the former name of Myanmar.

“BHRN implores international donors and governments to recognize that the Burmese state continues to violate the fundamental rights promised to all people through this charter,” the statement added.

On Friday a court in Myanmar’s Kachin state jailed three anti-war activists for “defaming” the army.

“Charges were bought against them by a military officer after they spoke publicly about the need to protect displaced civilians in Kachin State’s war zones and called for an end to aerial bombing campaigns,” the statement added.

“For this, they have begun a six-month prison sentence and have been ordered to pay a 500,000-kyat fine [$320],” the statement said.

“This court decision exemplifies—yet again—Burma’s failure to establish an independent judiciary, to protect freedom of expression, and to stop its oppression of ethnic and religious minorities,” said BHRN Executive Director Kyaw Win.

“The rights we should be celebrating today are being abused by both the NLD administration and the military. It is time for them to be held accountable, through sanctions and international legal action,” Win added.

A UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found the country's military guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity including rape, gang rape, sexual slavery, forced nudity, mutilations torture, persecution, and enslavement.

The report said it found conclusive evidence that the crackdown of the Myanmar army -- known as the Tatmadaw – “undoubtedly amounted to the gravest crimes under international law” in Rakhine state as well as in Kachin and Shan states.
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