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Home > Main Library > Human Rights > Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Right to > Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, violations of

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Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, violations of

Individual Documents

Title: CRACKDOWN at LETPADAN - Excessive Force and Violations of the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Expression
Date of publication: October 2015
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "On March 10, 2015, following a weeklong standoff in the town of Letpadan in Myanmar’s Bago Region, police officers violently cracked down on a group of approximately 200 protesters demonstrating against the recently passed National Education Law. Several days prior to the crackdown, the police imposed a blockade on the protesters and prevented them from continuing their march to Yangon. On March 10, after tension escalated during the morning, police officers charged into the group with batons drawn and severely beat unarmed protesters and bystanders. At the time of writing, the Government of Myanmar has taken no known disciplinary or criminal action against police officers involved in the excessive use of force at Letpadan. The police arrested 127 protesters, journalists, and bystanders in Letpadan on March 10 and physically and verbally abused individuals in police custody. At the time of writing, 77 men and women arrested in Letpadan face charges that carry sentences of up to nine years and six months imprisonment. Fifty of those arrested remain behind bars. Some student leaders face multiple counts of the same alleged violation under a law regulating assemblies. Fortify Rights and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic (hereinafter “the Clinic”) interviewed 25 eyewitnesses to the events of March 10 and analyzed more than 500 photographs and 40 videos taken during the protest and crackdown in Letpadan. Many police officers who employed excessive force in Letpadan are clearly identifiable in these photographs and videos, and eyewitness testimonies implicate several commanding officers. International law protects protesters’ rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Myanmar authorities violated these protesters’ rights by ordering them to disband, enforcing a blockade to prevent them from continuing their march to Yangon, and imposing unjustifiable and unnecessary restrictions on their protest activities. During the crackdown, police officers beat unarmed protesters while disbursing them as well as individuals after they were taken into police custody. These actions constitute an excessive use of force in violation of international law and standards. Finally, the ongoing detention and prosecution of individuals targeted solely for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression is arbitrary and violates international law..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Fortify Rights; Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic
Format/size: pdf (4.6MB-reduced version; 5.9MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.fortifyrights.org/downloads/FR_Crackdown_At_Letpadan_October_2015.pdf
Date of entry/update: 10 October 2015


Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Attack gangs and falsification again the orders of the day
Date of publication: 11 March 2015
Description/subject: "...In Rangoon, on 4 March 2015 police together with members of a civilian gang attacked over a hundred workers protesting for higher wages and better conditions at the Shwepyithar industrial zone in the city’s north, and took over of dozen into custody, after the labour ministry had described the workers as “riotous” and had, in the manner of the thugs sent out to beat them up, crudely threatened the workers with violence. The following day, the police and civilians with red armbands attacked a small group of demonstrators gathered outside the Rangoon town hall in support of student protesters encamped at Letpadan, north of the city, calling for amendments to the national education law. Video footage posted on YouTube by the Democratic Voice of Burma shows members of the gang in a melee with protestors before police surge in with batons, pulling some onto waiting vehicles and clearing out the area. Then, on March 10 the police also broke up the student protest camp at Letpadan with the use of barely restrained violence, officially arresting 127 students. The details of the attack are still emerging; however, according to some accounts there too non-police personnel were among those involved in the crackdown. Again, DVB has posted footage on YouTube showing scenes of utter chaos as policemen assault protestors everywhere and smash up vehicles standing idle and unoccupied to the sound of announcements over loudspeakers that the assembly was illegal and that for “the rule of law and community peace” the home affairs ministry was taking action under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to disperse it..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Human Rights Commission
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 April 2015


Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Villagers still without remedy for police attack on protestors
Date of publication: 13 February 2015
Description/subject: "...As describe in the original appeal (AHRC-UAC-117-2014), the farmers from Singu Township, Mandalay Region had been beaten and shot during peaceful protest for the grabbed lands. The farmers protested several times since June. However, on 14 August 2014, police with guns and shields came to the village without giving any information to the Village Administrative Officer. They attacked the protesters, injuring some villagers and one woman was shot. During the following six months, the courts have made no progress in pursuing prosecution. According to the latest information received, although the police claimed that they were supposed to arrest 15 villagers who were sent summons, they could neither show arrest warrant nor official information that should have been given to the village authorities. This is similar to the method by which they fired their guns; to do so they need permission from a township judge, but instead they relied only the command of the Singu Township Police Force Commander, Soe Win for justification. At the request of all the villagers and victims, a local elder made a first information report at Latpanhla police station in September to open a case against the police. However, the police station didn't take any action nor did they fill the police station form (A)(B),instead, they instructed him to go straight to a court. The plaintiff lodged a case against the police personnel in Singu Township Court. The township judge said the case was improper because it was not opened by victims and dismissed the case on summary judgment on 3 November 2014 finding. Pyinoolwin District Court reached the same conclusion. The case is now in Mandalay Regional High Court and appears to be stalled. The villagers' rights are threatened by forcing them to live in fear, and depriving them of remedy for their lost lands..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asia Human Rights Commission
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 24 April 2015


Title: Not in Theory, Not in Practice: Freedom of Assembly and Association in Burma
Date of publication: 15 October 2012
Description/subject: "The rights of peaceful assembly and association in Burma are fragile at best. The Burma government has enacted reforms to address this gap in human rights protection. Sadly the reforms are lacking and citizens are regularly denied any semblance of protection in relation to international human rights standards. The Unlawful Associations Act1 and the NGO Registration Law haven’t been repealed; these remain large obstacles if Burma is to have freedom of assembly and association. Many organizations are still listed as “unlawful” and the fact that the law remains in place is an ever-present threat for activists. There have been numerous instances of Kachin people being arrested and detained for suspected, but in no way proven, links to the Kachin Independence Organization. These incidences of “unlawful association” have only increased with the resumption of armed conflict in Kachin State since June 2011. The current 1988 NGO Registration Law is overly restrictive and prohibits NGOs’ involvement in politics and advocacy for rule of law and good governance. The law also requires NGOs to pay an unrealistic amount, up to 500,000 kyat (around US$550), for registration fees. Despite the approval by President Thein Sein on 2 December 2011 of the Peaceful Demonstration and Gathering Law, the government of Burma regularly arrests and intimidates peaceful protesters. Both assembly and association are still tightly controlled and restricted. (This paper was submitted to the Mr. Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.)"
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership
Format/size: pdf (369K)
Date of entry/update: 22 October 2012


Title: Myanmar: The Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession 2012 - Legal Analysis (English/ Burmese ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 20 September 2012
Description/subject: Executive Summary and Recommendations: In July 2012, "ARTICLE 19 analysed the Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession of Myanmar, adopted by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 5 July 2012. The provisions of the Decree were examined for their compliance with international standards on human rights. Myanmar has neither signed nor ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or other principal human rights treaties. Nevertheless, ARTICLE 19 suggests that guarantees to the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as provided by Article 364 of the Constitution of Myanmar, allow a wide scope for interpretation and that international standards regarding these rights should provide guidance to such an interpretation. In the analysis, ARTICLE 19 appreciates the Decree’s recognition of the state duty to protect assembly participants. However, the requirement for permission to hold an assembly, the grounds for denying permission, the lack of a court appeal and the absence of guarantees for media access to assemblies are problematic and must be urgently revised. ARTICLE 19 also calls on the Government of Myanmar – in consultation with civil society - to review other legislative measures in light of international standards and to make them compliant with these standards. Recommendations ARTICLE 19 calls on the Government of Myanmar: • To sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; • To invite the UN special rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression to visit Myanmar; • To ensure that the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression are safeguarded in line with international standards; • To revise the Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession in accordance with international standards on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as recommended by ARTICLE 19; • To initiate public discussion about the current legal framework on peaceful assemblies and engage in consultation with civil society representatives on how to improve the relevant legislation. ARTICLE 19 calls on civil society in Myanmar: • To engage in public debates and consultation with the government on how to improve the domestic legislation on peaceful assembly; • To form coalitions between civil society organisations and launch public education campaigns on the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression; • To draft legislative proposals and advocate for specific changes in domestic legislation aiming at the improvement of the protection of the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression; • To seek partnerships with international organisations in a specific mandate on the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Article 19
Format/size: pdf (346K-English; 6.54MB-Burmese))
Alternate URLs: http://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/3440/12-09-19-LA-Myanmar-BU.pdf
http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/3440/en/myanmar:-law-on-assembly-and-procession-inc...
Date of entry/update: 24 September 2012


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2008 - Chapter 14: Freedom of Assembly, Association and Movement
Date of publication: 23 November 2009
Description/subject: "The right to freedom of movement, assembly and association were all severely curtailed in Burma throughout the course of 2008, a year marked by natural disaster, political repression and ongoing, intractable armed conflict. The Burmese military junta continued to flout its obligations to uphold Articles 13 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), despite its signatory status. Article 13 states that; “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return to their country”, while Article 20 establishes the rights of assembly and association thus; “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.” 1 The citizens of Burma however, failed to benefit from the protections of the UDHR, or any other international or domestic laws that enshrine freedom of movement, assembly and association throughout the year. The trend of previous years that were characterised by tight movement restrictions on the population was maintained, and in some respects these rights were restricted even further. The movement of those in the ethnic rural areas that have witnessed low-level armed conflict, in particular the Karen, Mon, Shan and Karenni States was rigidly controlled by the armed forces and to a lesser extent the non-state armed groups. The movement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), particularly those who were displaced from villages and sent to relocation sites by the military, or who fled into jungle hiding sites was severely curbed. Movement restrictions on the population in Arakan State, in particular the Rohingya ethnic minority, were stringently imposed. In spite of the harsh movement restrictions imposed by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), 2008 saw the continued illegal migration from these states and others into neighbouring countries such as Thailand, India and Bangladesh. Domestic travel in general was also restricted, especially in the rural ethnic regions where travellers faced arbitrary taxation at the hands of the Burmese military and non-state armed groups (NSAGs)..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Docmentation Unit (HRDU)
Format/size: pdf (1.17MB)
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2009


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2002-03: Freedom of Movement, Assembly and Association
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: "Throughout 2002 the SPDC continued to interfere with and monitor the movement of people in Burma. Similarily, the rights of assembly and association continued to be effectively denied especially in border areas, despite the release of Aung San Suu Kyi in May. There was however, a temporary and partial easing of restrictions on the NLD which briefly gave rise to climate of hope for improved conditions in the future. However, by the end of the year Aung San Suu Kyi was clearly encountering increasing and serious harassment on her political trips outside the capital. There has been overall a notable absence of the freedoms of assembly and association throughout the period of military rule in Burma, especially since the 1988 coup and formation of the SLORC. Under the SPDC these freedoms have been further restricted, and labor unions, student unions and private civic associations are all banned. Through its extensive intelligence network and administrative procedures, the SPDC systematically monitors the travel of all citizens, especially the movements of politically active people in the country. All residents in Burma are required to carry national identity cards, showing their citizenship status, normal place of residence, date of birth, name of father, and so on. Since 1990 these cards are also required to contain information on the holders’ ethnicity and religion. All residents and citizens of Burma are required to apply for these cards, with the exception of the Muslim Rohingya minority, who are not considered citizens by the government (see chapter on minority rights for further information). As possession of these national identity cards is mandatory in order to buy train or bus tickets, to register with a local council outside one’s normal place of residence, to vote in any future election, or to enroll in institutions of higher learning, those without such cards face severe restrictions on their freedom of movement..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 November 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 2000: Freedom of Assembly and Association
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "There has been a notable absence of the freedoms of assembly and association during the time of military rule in Burma, especially since the 1988 coup and formation of the SLORC. Under the SPDC these freedoms have been further restricted. The International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts has criticized the lack of freedom of association in Burma for over 40 years. This was brought to the forefront in 2000, during the time of the ILO’s investigation into the forced labor situation of Burma, when the ILO Conference Committee on the Application of Standards again denounced Burma’s violation of Convention No. 87, which deals with the freedom of association. Labor unions, student unions and private civic associations are banned. No elections are scheduled; none seem likely..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit, NCGUB
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: Yearbook main page: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/yearbooks/Main.htm
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Burma Human Rights Yearbook 1994: 07 - Freedom of Assembly and Association
Date of publication: September 1995
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Documentation Unit of the NCGUB
Format/size: html (36K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003