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

 

Leaked: UK Counter-Terrorism Training Material

The PREVENT Strategy has permeated all aspects of public life in the UK. It is important that the training provided to public sector workers to implement the strategy is scrutinised for its empiricism. To this end, CAGE has released the most comprehensive leak of PREVENT training material so far. More>>

ALSO:

Weather: Aid Urgently Needed For Drought-Stricken Ethiopia

As the severity of ongoing drought in Ethiopia is exacerbated by the arid effects of ‘super El Nino’, ChildFund New Zealand is appealing to more New Zealanders to contribute to their growing aid response. More>>

'Very Concerned' After Court Ruling: UNHRC On Transfer Of 267 People From Australia To Nauru

Most of these people were reportedly brought to Australia from Nauru to receive medical treatment and are in a fragile physical and mental state. The group includes more than 12 women and at least one child who have allegedly suffered sexual assault or harassment while in Nauru. The group also includes 37 children born in Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Sanctions To Be Lifted: NZ Welcomes Implementation Of Iran Nuclear Deal

Duty Minister Nikki Kaye has welcomed the next stage in the historic nuclear deal between Iran, the Five Permanent (P5) members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany... “New Zealand has now started the domestic process for removing the UN sanctions." More>>

ALSO:

Pre-Davos Reports: 62 People Own Same Wealth As Half The World

Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago, according to an Oxfam report published today ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites in Davos.. More>>

ALSO:

Jakarta: UN Secretary-General On Attacks

The Secretary-General condemns the bombings and gun attacks in Jakarta today... there is absolutely no justification for such acts of terrorism. He hopes the perpetrators of today's attacks will be swiftly brought to justice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news