Posts Tagged ‘Yangon’

Burma’s land and environmental issues keeps human rights defenders under stress

August 19, 2013

Land and environmental issues keep putting pressure on human rights defenders in Burma as reported by Front Line:

On 2 August 2013, human rights defender Mr Ko Htin Kyaw was arrested on charges of insulting the state after participating in a peaceful protest against illegal land seizures on 30 July 2013. Three other peaceful protesters, themselves victims of illegal land seizures, were arrested alongside him. Ko Htin Kyaw is the director of the Movement for Democracy Current Force (MDCF), a community-based organisation working to promote development and democracy in Burma.  They were not given any opportunity to contact a lawyer and were refused bail. If Ko Htin Kyaw is found guilty, he may be sentenced to up to 3 years imprisonment. The charges relate to a peaceful protest held on 30 July 2013 to peacefully express frustration at the government which had not forced the man in question to return the land, despite an acknowledgement from the authorities of the land seizure’s illegality and the existence of considerable evidence to support the claim.

On 20 June 2013, human rights defenders Messrs Moe Thway, Wai Lu and Wai Hmuu Thwin published a statement regarding the arrest warrants issued against them on 13 June 2013 . These arrest warrants are reportedly linked to comments the human rights defenders had made about the Letpadaung copper mine project, a joint venture between the Burmese military’s Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (UMEHL) and Wan Bao Company, a subsidiary of a Chinese arms manufacturer.

Moe Thway is a member of Generation Wave Youth Force, a network of human rights defenders that campaigns for civil and political rights, including by putting pressure on the Burmese government to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They have also been campaigning against the Letpadaung mine and have brought the campaign to national attention. Wai Lu and Wai Hmuu Thwin are part of the Yangon People Service Network which campaigns for the respect of rule of law and democracy in Burma. The campaign against the Letpadaung project is also part of their work.Frontline NEWlogo-2 full version - cropped

US State Department announces today the winners of its 2012 Human Rights Awards

June 12, 2013

The US State Department announces today, 12 June 2013, the winners of its annual human rights awards: The Human Rights Defenders Award is given to individuals or non-governmental organizations that have shown exceptional valor and leadership in advocating for the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression: Syrian human rights activist Hanadi Zahlout organized peaceful protests in the beginning of the Syrian revolution and continues to work for a peaceful democratic transition. The second recipient of this award, Iraqi NGO Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, has fearlessly advocated for human rights and was critical in concrete achievements in the protection of female detainees, as well as taken on critical work on curriculum reform to promote religious freedom.

At the same time the State Department announced as the winner of the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award its Ambassador, John Tefft, in the Ukraine. And for the Human Rights and Democracy Achievement Award (which honors a U.S. Department of State employee who has implemented creative strategies to support human rights and democracy) Erin Webster-Main from the Embassy Rangoon, Burma.
via Winners of the 2012 Human Rights Awards.

Burma/Myanmar to have first International Human Rights Film Festival in June

June 6, 2013

Aung San Suu Kyi P

(Aung San Suu Kyi  with Human Rights Logo)

Now rapidly opening up Burma/Myanmar is going to have for the first time an international film festival dedicated to human rights. It will feature Read the rest of this entry »

Criminalization of rights defenders and impunity for police in Burma

May 20, 2013

English: Map showing Sagaing Region in Burma

Sagaing Region in Burma (credit: Wikipedia)

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns in the strongest terms the announcement of the commander of the Sagaing Region Police Force, Myanmar, that the police will arrest and charge eight human rights defenders whom it blames for inciting protests against the army-backed copper mine project in Monywa. The Commission also condemns the latest round of needless police violence against demonstrators there. According to an undated announcement just issued by the regional commander of the Myanmar Police Force, a copy of which the AHRC has obtained, the police will lodge charges against eight persons for allegedly provoking demonstrations and other supposedly illegal actions. The persons named include six members of the Yangon Peoples Support Network. The other two persons are Han Win Aung of the Political Prisoners Families Beneficial Network and Thaung Taik Oo of the Yangon Institute of Technology Students Union (18 charges!). The announcement goes on to warn that failure to provide information leading to the apprehension of these persons or harbouring of them constitute criminal offenses. Read the rest of this entry »