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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Aftermath Of Brexit

Be careful of what you ask for. Now that it has woken up from its Brexit victory hangover, is Britain acting as if it has just won the World Cup? Hardly. More>>

ALSO:

UK Labour Statement: The Shooting Of MP Jo Cox

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party said: “The whole of the Labour Party and Labour family - and indeed the whole country - will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today. Jo had a lifelong record of public service and a deep commitment to humanity." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Rainbow Colours On MFC In Sympathy For Florida Killings
Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre will be lit in colours of the rainbow Monday as a gesture of support for the LGBTI victims of the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On How Obama’s Supreme Court Choice Says Everything (Bad) About His Presidency

Nothing has epitomised the presidency of Barack Obama quite like his Supreme Court nominees. Time and again, Republican presidents will blithely nominate right wing ideological extremists (Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas) who only sometimes misfire and turn out to be liberals in disguise (David Souter). Yet Obama has consistently skipped over the judicially qualified liberals and gone for a succession of centrists... More>>

ALSO:

Turkey: UN Secretary-General On The Terrorist Bombing In Ankara

The Secretary-General condemns the terrorist attack in Ankara earlier today. According to the latest reports, the explosion in the Kizilay district killed and wounded dozens of people. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news