Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

Report
February 16, 2010

Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

36 Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners of Burma (AAPPB), Maroon Revolution in Numbers, October 2007.

37 Only the most compelling moral circumstances warrant Theravedic Buddhist monks turning over their alms bowls, for to do so is often interpreted as an act of excommunication. It suggests that the alms-giver is not part of the religious community, and deprives him/her of the opportunity to make or accumulate karmic "merit" in this life, toward a better life upon reincarnation.

38 UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council, Human Rights Situations that Require the Council's Attention, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, mandated by resolution S-5/1 adopted by the Human Rights Council at its Fifth Special Session, Human Rights Council 6th session, Agenda item 4, 7 December 2007 (A/HRC/6/14), para. 69.

39 See Articles 3 and 9 of the UDHR. See also Article 9 of the ICCPR.

40 Than Shwe is the leader of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the military government).

41 Section 505(b) states that "Whoever makes, publishes, or circulates any statement, rumour, or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offense against the State or against the public tranquility, shall be punished with imprisonment which may be extended to two years, or with fine, or with both".

42 The Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) was formed in 1993 as a "social welfare" organization, and has become most prominent of the mass-based civilian organizations established and used by the government to monitor, intimidate and arrest political opponents and crush dissent. The USDA has 23 million members across Myanmar, many of whom are coerced into joining. It is directly controlled by the government, with Senior General Than Shwe as its first 'patron'.

43 Section 143 states that "Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both".  See footnote 41 above for Section 505(b).   Section 505(a) and Section 505(c) provide for up to two years' imprisonment, or a fine, or both, for anyone who, under Section 505(a), "makes, publishes, or circulates any statement, rumour, or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor, or airman, in the Army, Navy, or Air Force to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such"; or under Section 505(c), "makes, publishes, or circulates any statement, rumour, or report with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offense against any other class or community".  

44 See footnotes 41 and 43.