06/24/2019

Urgent Action: Rakhine Journalist in Hiding, Facing Charges (Myanmar: UA 87.19)


News editor Aung Marm Oo is in hiding after being accused of violating Myanmar’s Unlawful Associations Act, a notorious repressive law which has often been used to target ethnic minorities in Myanmar. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Development Media Group (DMG), a Rakhine State-based news agency which has been reporting on violations during the conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army. The charge carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

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Union Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo
Union Attorney General Office No. 25
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Fax: + 95 67 404106
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador U Aung Lynn
Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S St. NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 332 3344 | 4350
Fax: 202 332 4351
Email: [email protected], [email protected]
Contact form: https://goo.gl/5eMa54
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo,

I am writing to express my concern about charges filed against Aung Marm Oo, the Editor-in Chief of the Rakhine State-based Development Media Group (DMG) news agency. I believe the case against him is politically-motivated and unfounded and stems from his organization’s role in reporting on military abuses against civilians during conflict with the Arakan Army in Rakhine State. The charges should be dropped, and Aung Marm Oo allowed to continue his peaceful journalistic work without the threat of arrest, prosecution or intimidation.

Aung Marm Oo is currently in hiding fearing politically-motivated arrest and detention after learning from media reports that police have opened a case against him under Section 17(2) of the Unlawful Associations Act. The provision provides up to five years in prison for any person who manages, promotes, or assists an unlawful association. Amnesty International and others have long expressed concerns about the Unlawful Associations Act, which has often been used against civilians from ethnic minorities in conflict areas. More generally, I am worried about ongoing politically-motivated arrests and detentions in Myanmar. These arrests are made possible by a range of laws which allow authorities to arrest, detain, and prosecute journalists, human rights defenders, and peaceful activists. These laws are contrary to international human rights law and standards and have no place in any country committed to freedom of expression.

I am therefore writing to urge you to drop all charges against Aung Marm Oo and ensure he and other media workers in Myanmar are able to carry out their work without intimidation, harassment, or the threat of arrest and prosecution; and review and repeal or amend laws that restrict the right to freedom of expression, including the Unlawful Associations Act, to bring them in line with international human rights law and standards.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES