Myanmar


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Myanmar (Burma) Human Rights

Myanmar Elections

The military rulers of Myanmar have jailed thousands of people in their continuing efforts to crush all dissenting views. Most prominent of those detained was Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was released on November 13, 2010 and has been the beacon of hope and change for nearly two decades in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma.

Many of Myanmar's 55 million people live in poverty and suffer from ongoing human rights violations. Those who express dissenting views face harassment, arbitrary arrest, torture, imprisonment and sometimes even extrajudicial executions. Political prisoners probably number in the hundreds, maybe more. No transparent process has been carried out to determine the correct number. AI has called upon the UN to assist the government in convening a panel, including the National League for Democracy, to ensure that all political prisoners are identified.

Since May 2010 AI has also called on the UN to establish an international commission of inquiry into grave crimes in conflict zones including extra judicial killing, arbitrary detention, torture and forced labor on a large scale.

The Myanmar government declared a state of emergency in Rakhine State on June 10, following an outbreak of communal violence in the previous week among the Buddhist Rakhine, Muslim Rakhine, and Muslim Rohingya communities. It remains in effect in several areas.

Since then, Myanmar's Border Security Force (nasaka), army and police have conducted massive sweeps in areas that are heavily populated by Rohingyas. Hundreds of mostly men and boys have been detained, nearly all held incommunicado, and some subjected to ill-treatment.

Most arrests appear to have been arbitrary and discriminatory, violating the rights to liberty and to freedom from discrimination on grounds of religion.

Political prisoners in Myanmar are still held under vague laws frequently used by the government to criminalize peaceful political dissent. They are being held in grim conditions, with inadequate food and sanitation. Many are in poor health and do not receive proper medical treatment. Many were tortured during their initial interrogation and detention, and still risk torture as a punishment at the hands of prison officers.

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Human Rights Concerns

On August 19, 2007 protesters of the 88 Generation Movement took to the streets of Yangon, then Myanmar's capital city, to peacefully protest overnight increases in gasoline prices by 66%, and compressed natural gas prices up five-fold. The huge rises in oil and gas prices have exacerbated living expenses, placing obstacles for many in the nation.

On August 21 and 22, demonstrators that were involved in organizing and participating in the August 19 protests were detained by government security forces, and had their homes searched without arrest or search warrants. In cities and townships nationwide, demonstrators who peacefully assembled, to express their dissent were continually and violently dispersed, beaten, and detained by both government security forces and its closely linked civilian organizations – Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and Swan Arrshin.

It is believed that the demonstrators will be charged under Law 5/96, which allows up to 20-year prison sentences for anyone who is found guilty of expressing opinions which disrupt the stability of the state, or "undermine, belittle and make people misunderstand the functions being carried out by the National Convention." Further, on September 7, individuals detained for other peaceful dissent not related to the one just mentioned, were tried in prison and handed life sentences. By no means were these trials held to international legal norms. It is feared that the same methods of trying individuals will be used in the latest crackdown and arrests.

Amnesty International is concerned that the vague and sweeping provisions of Law 5/96 criminalize the peaceful expression of political beliefs, and has called for its repeal. AI has called upon the government of Myanmar to uphold universal human rights standards enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, especially those of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, freedom from torture and ill-treatment, and fair trial. AI is also concerned that torture and other forms of ill treatment have been used to extract ficticious confessions that will be presented as evidence against the detainees. Detainees often do not receive immediate medical treatment, access to lawyers, family, and the courts. Myanmar currently has at least 1,158 political prisoners detained – one of the highest of such populations worldwide.

Myanmar Newsroom



July 9, 2018 • Press Release

Myanmar: Charging of Reuters journalists a black day for press freedom

Responding to today’s decision by a Yangon court to formally charge Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, with breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Response, said: “This is a black day for press freedom in Myanmar. The court’s decision to proceed with this farcical, politically motivated case …

June 26, 2018 • Report

Myanmar: Military top brass must face justice for crimes against humanity targeting Rohingya

Amnesty International has gathered extensive, credible evidence implicating Myanmar’s military Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and 12 other named individuals in crimes against humanity committed during the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State. The comprehensive report, “We Will Destroy Everything”: Military Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Rakhine State, Myanmar, calls for …

May 22, 2018 • Report

Myanmar: New evidence reveals Rohingya armed group massacred scores in Rakhine State

A Rohingya armed group brandishing guns and swords is responsible for at least one, and potentially a second, massacre of up to 99 Hindu women, men, and children as well as additional unlawful killings and abductions of Hindu villagers in August 2017, Amnesty International revealed today after carrying out a detailed investigation inside Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

May 3, 2018 • Press Release

Reuters Reporters Imprisoned in Myanmar Symbolize Worldwide Fight for Free Expression on World Press Freedom Day

While the world marks World Press Freedom Day today, the plight of two reporters who have been detained in Myanmar for their investigation into military crimes against the Rohingya is just one example of the global attack on free expression that endures throughout the year, said Amnesty International USA on the occasion of the worldwide observance.

April 11, 2018 • Press Release

Myanmar: Case against Reuters journalists upheld as media restrictions intensify

Responding to the decision by a Myanmar court to press forward with the criminal case against Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific said:

April 5, 2018 • Press Release

Bangladesh: Rohingya refugees returns must be safe, voluntary and dignified

Amnesty International called on the government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment that Rohingya refugees are only returned in conditions that are safe, voluntary and dignified. In a meeting with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, acknowledged the generosity that the country had shown nearly a million Rohingya refugees who …

March 28, 2018 • Press Release

Myanmar: New president must do more to hold perpetrators to account

Responding to the appointment of Win Myint as the new President of Myanmar, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said: “The Myanmar authorities should use the appointment of a new President as an opportunity to step back from the brink. We’ve seen a dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation in …

March 11, 2018 • Report

Remaking Rakhine State

Myanmar’s Rakhine State is being militarized at an alarming pace, as authorities are building security force bases and bulldozing land where Rohingya villages were burned to the ground just months ago, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today. Through eyewitness testimony and expert analysis of satellite images, Remaking Rakhine State reveals how flattening of …

March 6, 2018 • Press Release

Myanmar: Forced starvation of Rohingya highlights danger of premature returns

Reacting to the UN’s claim that Myanmar is continuing its campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya including through “forced starvation”, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said: “The UN’s findings sadly echo our own – there is no question that the Myanmar authorities’ vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya …

February 7, 2018 • Press Release

As U.S. Senate takes up legislation, Amnesty finds fresh evidence of ongoing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar

The Myanmar security forces’ devastating campaign against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State is far from over, Amnesty International said today, as it published new evidence of ongoing violations that have forced hundreds more people to flee in recent weeks.