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

 

UN expert dismayed by jail terms for Kachin activists

A UN human rights expert has expressed her dismay at the imprisonment of three ethnic Kachin activists for allegedly criticizing the Myanmar military during peaceful demonstrations in April.

“It is wholly unacceptable that Lum Zawng, Nang Pu and Zau Jet have been sent to jail merely for making statements about the military’s actions,” said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. “I am seriously concerned by the continual shrinking of the democratic space in Myanmar, and the culture of fear that now exists.”

In April 2018, thousands of civilians fled fighting between the military and ethnic armed groups, prompting demonstrations in Kachin and other locations in Myanmar.

At a news conference on 30 April, Lum Zawng is said to have called for the evacuation of civilians trapped in conflict areas. At demonstrations in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina on 30 April and 1 May, Nang Pu allegedly said that the military had prevented civilians from leaving conflict areas and that some had been killed. Zau Jet reportedly said the military had displaced 2,000 civilians from Hpakant Township and attacked civilians.

On 8 May 2018, Lum Zawng, Nang Pu and Zau Jet were charged with defamation under section 500 of the Myanmar Penal Code. Last Friday they were convicted and sentenced to six months in prison and fined K500,000 each.

“This is yet another case in which the Myanmar Government is failing to uphold human rights and democratic principles, and is using an archaic law that is contrary to accepted human rights principles as a weapon against human rights defenders,” Lee said.

Following Friday’s result, Kachin activists Brang Mai, Seng Hkum Awng and Sut Seng Htoi conducted a protest against the convictions, and were arrested for not seeking permission for the protest.

“I call on the Myanmar authorities to amend unjust laws including section 500 of the Penal Code, to nullify the convictions and release all three activists without delay, and stop arresting people for exercising their right of peaceful protest.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Myanmar: Stop ‘Widespread Violence’ Against Children, UN Officials Urge

Senior United Nations officials on Thursday strongly condemned the ongoing violence by Myanmar’s security forces against civilians, including children, as the members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the rapidly deteriorating situation in ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>

Department Of Global Communications: UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Message For World Health Day 2021

5 APRIL 2021 As COVID-19 Reveals Immoral Inequities in Health System, Secretary-General Observance Message Calls for Applying Policies, Assigning Resources to Ensure Everyone Thrives Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World ... More>>