World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Myanmar: Changes in anti-protest law are insignificant

Myanmar: Token changes to repressive anti-protest law are insignificant

The Myanmar parliament has reportedly only made token and insignificant changes to a draconian anti-protest law, raising serious questions about the authorities’ commitment to human rights reforms, Amnesty International said.

The contentious Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law places far-reaching restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and is often used to target activists and human rights defenders.

The amendments reportedly passed in parliament on 19 February still leave peaceful protesters at risk of arrest and imprisonment while allowing authorities to prohibit demonstrations they do not agree with.

“These amendments do not go nearly far enough. It is positive that authorities have shown a willingness to reform the law, but the reform is meaningless if the same people are still at risk of being locked up and harassed for speaking out peacefully,” said Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

“The Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law is a deeply flawed piece of legislation and should be repealed immediately or substantially revised to bring it in line with international standards.”

National and international non-governmental organizations have consistently raised concerns about this law since it was enacted in 2012, in particular Article 18 which provided for up to one year in prison, a fine or both for protests arranged without government permission and which has been used as a basis for the arrest and imprisonment of scores of peaceful protesters.

Under the law, authorities could block protests from going ahead on vague grounds – including “national security” and threats to “public tranquillity”.

The new amendments would reportedly see prison sentences cut in half to a maximum of six months, and still allow authorities to reject protests on ill-defined “reasonable” grounds.

So far this year, at least 25 people have been arrested under the law, five of whom have already been sentenced to prison terms.

On 14 February Ko Thein Aung, a member of the Burmese activist group 88 Generation, and four others activists were sentenced to terms of between three and six months’ imprisonment for peacefully protesting against Article 18 in Khin-Oo Township, Sagaing Division in January 2014. They were imprisoned under the same provision they were protesting against.

“If the Myanmar government is genuine about improving human rights in the country, it must show this through action, not just promises. This is just one of many laws still used in the country that violates freedom of expression,” said Polly Truscott.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news