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

 


Restrictions to religious conversion in Myanmar

UN rights experts raise alarm on draft bill imposing restrictions to religious conversion in Myanmar


GENEVA (19 June 2014) – Three United Nations experts on freedom of religion, minority issues and human rights in Myanmar today call on the Government of Myanmar to discard the draft bill on ‘Religious Conversion’ that may result in the arbitrary denial of the right to change or adopt a religion or belief in the country.

The human rights experts warned that the draft bill, made public on 27 May 2014 inviting comments from monks and the public, sets out a cumbersome application and approval process for conversion while purporting to make it easier for individuals to freely convert. It also provides for disproportionate criminal sanctions on offenders.
Moreover, some provisions are vague and subject to interpretation that may lead to discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities or the poor.

“Seeking comments from the public on draft legislation is commendable in promoting political participation of the people,” the experts said. “But in this instance, this process appears partial to the interest of one particular group and simply propagates the spread of incitement of racial and religious hatred, which the Government must do more to address.”

The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, noted that “State interferences into the right to change one’s religion or belief are per se illegitimate and incompatible with international human rights standards.”

“Freedom of religion or belief is a human right, irrespective of State approval, and respect for freedom of religion or belief does not depend on administrative registration procedures,” Mr. Bielefeldt stressed. “I am very disturbed by the attempt to regulate religious conversion.”

The Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, drew special attention over the potential for this bill to impact negatively on religious freedoms and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.

“I urge Myanmar to strengthen its protections in line with international standards not to create obstacles to the enjoyment of religious identity, minority rights, and the right of every individual to freely choose or to change their faith,” Ms. Izsák said.

“We have seen some worrying backtracking on Myanmar’s progress towards a more democratic nation in the last six months, including through the arbitrary arrest and the prosecution of activists and journalists deemed anti-establishment,” stated the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee.

Ms. Lee warned this draft bill -one of four composing a legislative package on the protection of race and religion- “signals the risk of Myanmar going off-track on its path to being a responsible member of the international community that respects and protects human rights.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation UN: Urgent Action To End Female Genital Mutilation

New UN data shows need for urgent action to end female genital mutilation, child marriage More>>

World News: SRI LANKA: Justice Denied To Two Child Victims Of Rape
There have been reports of an alleged abduction and rape of an eleven-year-old girl by a group of Navy officers, and of another nine-year-old girl treated in a similar manner. More>>

‘Global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism NGO Urges UN To Condemn ‘global Epidemic’ Of Anti-Semitism

French riot police officers face rioters in Sarcelles, a suburb north of Paris, on July 20, 2014. More>>


IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital IDF Falsifies Photograph To Justify Bombing El-Wafa Hospital

On the 21st July at 2:17 PM, the IDF spokesperson released an image on twitter showing an aerial picture of a building marked as ‘Al-Wafa’ hospital. In the image there is a red circle, which they designated as the location from which a M75 rocket was ... More>>

MH17: Black Boxes Recovered by Malaysian Government

'Following the agreement Prime Minister Najib Razak brokered with rebel leaders, Malaysia has taken custody of flight MH17's black boxes. As the Prime Minister said, they will be passed to the international investigation team for analysis. More>>

ALSO:


Gaza Update On 15th Day Of The Israeli Offensive

Dozens of Palestinian Civilians Killed or Wounded as Israeli Forces Attack Apartment Buildings, Mosques, Hospitals and Schools; White Phosphorous Bombs and Flechette Shells Fired by Israeli Forces in Border Areas... More>>

Al Jazeera: Egypt Verdict Defies Logic And Any Semblance Of Justice

Following today’s verdict in Cairo, Al Jazeera English managing director Al Anstey said: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news