Urgent Action: Kachin Pastors Missing After Assisting Journalists (Myanmar: UA 13/17)

Urgent Action
January 17, 2017
Two ethnic Kachin pastors, who had been helping journalists report on military abuses in northern Shan State, have been missing since 24 December 2016. Last seen near a Myanmar Army post in Monekoe town, their fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
Dumdaw Nawng Lat, a pastor and community elder from Monekoe town in Muse Township, northern Shan State, was summoned to a nearby army post, to apparently discuss the arrest of a local man, on 24 December 2016. Accompanied by his nephew Langjaw Gam Seng, also a pastor in Monekoe, the two men were last seen near the army post, locally known as Byu Har Kone, at around 5pm that evening. 
Local sources believe the men may have been detained by Myanmar authorities for their role in organizing a visit by journalists in late November 2016 to Monekoe town. The visit included a tour of the church that, according to Kachin organisations, had been partially destroyed by Myanmar army airstrikes following fierce fighting between the Myanmar Army and the Brotherhood of the Northern Alliance, a new coalition of four armed ethnic groups in northern Myanmar. Access to the area is heavily restricted. Amnesty International is concerned that Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng may be victims of enforced disappearance.
A missing person’s report was filed by relatives with the Muse Township police station on 4 January 2017, however, no information about the fate or whereabouts of the two men has been obtained.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
  • Order an immediate and effective investigation with a view to establishing the fate and whereabouts of Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng’s fate, ensuring their safety and providing their families with information;
  • If the two men are in state custody, immediately release them, unless they are charged with an internationally recognizable offence and remanded by an independent, civilian court. If this is the case, transfer them to an official place of detention, and ensure that they are treated humanely, allowed effective, prompt and thereafter regular access to their family, lawyers of their own choosing and adequate medical care; and
  • Immediately cease violations of international human rights law against ethnic civilians in conflict and ceasefire areas, bring those who have committed violations to justice and ensure that the Myanmar armed forces adhere strictly to the provisions of international humanitarian law and customary international human rights law.

Contact these two officials by 27 February, 2017:

State Counsellor
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Office No. 9
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: + 95 (0) 67412396
Salutation: Your Excellency
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