Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

February 16, 2010

Myanmar: The repression of ethnic minority activists in Myanmar

45 The Swan-Ar-Shin (SAS) or "Masters of Force" was formed in 2003 by the government to harass and intimidate opposition political parties, protesters, and human rights activists.  Its operations are commanded by riot police and it is indirectly supervised by the military.  Ordinary members of the SAS are used primarily for routine surveillance and to assist the police, but some members are employed to engage in violence against dissidents.  While the government rarely acknowledges the existence of the SAS publicly, they are thought to operate across the country.

46 Union Day celebrates the Panglong Agreement signed on 12 February 1947, between the Burmese government under General Aung San and the Kachin, Chin, and Shan leaders.

47 On 5 September 2007, security forces in Pakkoku, Magway Division in central Myanmar, attacked monks who were demonstrating as part of the Saffron Revolution. When the government failed to apologize for the attack twelve days later, the demonstrations increased substantially.

48 On 27 September 2007, Singapore, as Chair of ASEAN, made the following statement: "The ASEAN Foreign Ministers had a full and frank discussion on the situation in Myanmar at their Informal Meeting this morning in the UN and agreed for the Chair to issue this Statement. They were appalled to receive reports of automatic weapons being used and demanded that the Myanmar government immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators. They expressed their revulsion to Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities. They strongly urged Myanmar to exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution. They called upon Myanmar to resume its efforts at national reconciliation with all parties concerned, and work towards a peaceful transition to democracy.  The Ministers called for the release of all political detainees including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The ASEAN Foreign Ministers expressed their concern to Minister Nyan Win that the developments in Myanmar had a serious impact on the reputation and credibility of ASEAN". Statement by ASEAN Chair, Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo, New York, 27 September 2007.

49 Article 25, Referendum Law for the Approval of the Draft constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, 2008.