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“The Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law is a deeply flawed piece of legislation and should be repealed immediately or substantially revised to bring it in line with international standards.”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

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 


21 Egyptians Beheaded

Egyptian jets bombed Islamic State targets in Libya on Monday, a day after the group there released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians, drawing Cairo directly into the conflict across its border. More>>

Protests In Bil’in Honoring Slain US Citizens

Protesters at demonstration in Bil’in honoring slain US citizens face attacks and arrests by Israeli forces. More>>

Resolution Targeting Sources Of Financing For ISIL

Ambassadors representing two countries under attack from ISIL, Bashar Ja’afari (right) of Syria, and Mohamed Ali Alhakim of Iraq, speak to journalists following the adoption of a Security Council resolution targeting sources of financing for ... More>>

ALSO:

  • U.S. Department of State - Support for Authorization for Use of Military Force
  • "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    "Pakistan Probably Harboured Osama Bin Laden"

    Former ISI head Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani tells Al Jazeera Pakistan probably harboured Osama Bin Laden More>>

    ISM Honours Kayla Mueller

    Abdullah Abu Rahma, coordinator of the popular committee in the village of Bil’in where Kayla joined the protests, told ISM: “Kayla came to Palestine to stand in solidarity with us. She marched with us and faced the military that occupies our ... More>>


    US Measles Outbreak: UN Urges Parents Vaccinate Children

    3 February 2015 – Parents in the United States must vaccinate their children against measles in order to maintain the high levels of immunity necessary in keeping outbreaks of the aggressively contagious virus small and contained, the United Nations World ... More>>

    Ebola: Large-Scale Vaccine Trials Under Way In Liberia

    WHO welcomed the donation by the Public Health Agency of Canada of 800 vials of one of the leading candidate Ebola vaccines, rVSV-ZEBOV. Photo: WHO/M. Missioneiro (file) More>>

    Security Council Denounce Murder Of Jordanian Pilot

    3 February 2015 – For the second time in as many days, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council have jointly condemned the brutal killing of a civilian by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – this time deploring ... More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news