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Home > Main Library > Human Rights > Various Rights > National Human Rights Institutions > Burma's National Human Rights Commission > Myanmar's National Human Rights Commission (commentary)

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Myanmar's National Human Rights Commission (commentary)

Individual Documents

Title: MYANMAR: LOWER HOUSE SHOULD REJECT PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY LAW
Date of publication: 21 March 2018
Description/subject: "(Bangkok, 21 March 2018) The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and its member, Equality Myanmar are gravely concerned by the approval of the proposed amendments to the 2011 Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law by the House of Nationalities (Upper House) on 7 March 2018.[1] The amended bill has been sent to the House of Representatives (Lower House) where it is expected to be discussed this week. These new amendments are highly restrictive of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, freedom of expression, and democracy in Myanmar. The amendments, which were originally submitted on 19 February 2018 by the Upper House Bill Committee, present several contentious changes to the law, which further restrict freedoms and liberties which they are supposed to protect and promote. According to the amended Article 4[2], a notification letter has to be submitted to the authority at least 48 hours in advance for any public assembly, and that such an assembly may not conflict with laws protecting national security, rule of law, public order, or public moral. This vague provision provides room for the authorities to simply reject a request based on ambiguous grounds, even if the assembly is deemed a peaceful gathering according to international standards.[3] A proportionality assessment must be done to ensure that restrictions imposed on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly are proportionate to the legitimate objectives of the law..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: ASIAN FORUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT AND EQUALITY
Format/size: html,pdf (139K)
Alternate URLs: https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Statement-on-amednment-of-law-on-pea...
https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/2018/03/21/category-press-releases-statements-open-letters-reso...
Date of entry/update: 04 April 2018


Title: FCO MINISTER FIELD STATEMENT ON UN FACT FINDING MISSION ON BURMA
Date of publication: 12 March 2018
Description/subject: "Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field statement on the interim report by UN Fact Finding Mission on Burma. Minister Mark Field said: This report by the UN Fact Finding Mission on human rights has reaffirmed the appalling human rights violations that so many in Burma have suffered and confirms that the Burmese military are primarily to blame for the widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya. These findings show the vital importance of an open and transparent investigation into these appalling events and I urge the Burmese authorities to reverse their decision not to cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission, and allow them immediate access so they can continue their work. I call on the Burmese authorities to establish a credible and independent investigation into these horrifying accusations, and a judicial process to hold to account those responsible for abuses. The UK is fully committed to help bring an end to this humanitarian crisis and I plan to update Parliament on the Government’s approach at the earliest opportunity allowed..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/2018/03/12/fco-minister-field-statement-on-un-fact-finding-miss...
Date of entry/update: 24 March 2018


Title: ACHIEVING JUSTICE FOR GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN MYANMAR
Date of publication: 24 January 2018
Description/subject: "From 1962 to 2011, a succession of military governments, ruled in a strict chain of command by the country’s military Head of State, perpetrated gross violations of human rights and crimes under international law in Myanmar. In 2011, executive power was transferred to a quasi-civilian government that pursued significant economic and political reforms. After receiving an overwhelming majority of the votes in the November 2015 elections, the National League for Democracy (NLD) took office in March 2016. The NLD-led Government is Myanmar’s first democratically elected, civilian-led government since the military coup of 1962. The NLD has committed to prioritize the establishment of the rule of law in Myanmar. However, it faces many longstanding challenges brought about by decades of authoritarian military rule that has systematically weakened Myanmar’s judiciary and compromised the independence of its legal system. Most of the population have been consistently denied access to the courts and effective remedies as a result of unfair and discriminatory laws, as well as poor court decisions. Political and military influence over judges remains a major obstacle to the rule of law, with the executive branch, the military and security apparatus maintaining undue influence over the judiciary..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Commission Of Jurists via "Progressive Voice"
Format/size: html,pdf (336K)
Alternate URLs: https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/2018/01/24/achieving-justice-for-gross-human-rights-violations-...
https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Myanmar-GRA-Baseline-Study-Publicati...
Date of entry/update: 15 March 2018


Title: "ALL OF MY BODY WAS PAIN” SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST ROHINGYA WOMEN AND GIRLS IN BURMA
Date of publication: 16 November 2017
Description/subject: "I was held down by six men and raped by five of them. First, they [shot and] killed my brother … then they threw me to the side and one man tore my lungi [sarong], grabbed me by the mouth and held me still. He stuck a knife into my side and kept it there while the men were raping me. That was how they kept me in place. … I was trying to move and [the wound] was bleeding more. They were threatening to shoot me..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch via "Progressive Voice"
Format/size: pdf (702K)
Date of entry/update: 21 March 2018


Title: 2017 ANALYSIS: FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION & PRISON CONDITIONS
Date of publication: 2017
Description/subject: "Throughout 2017 repressive laws infringed upon the civil and political rights of individuals, ethnic minority groups and the media. Vaguely worded laws have led to arbitrary arrests, pre-trial detention, and wrongfully imprisoned individuals, actions that conflict with rights protected in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The very nature of these laws restricting peaceful protests, arresting those associating with ethnic armed groups (EAGs), and criminalizing Government criticism target the right of freedom of expression and violate multiple standards of international human rights law..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) via "Progressive Voice"
Format/size: pdf (902K)
Alternate URLs: https://progressivevoicemyanmar.org/2018/03/21/2017-analysis-freedom-of-expression-prison-condition...
Date of entry/update: 05 April 2018


Title: The fight for your rights
Date of publication: 13 September 2016
Description/subject: "Myanmar’s human rights commission has a credibility problem — but critics argue that it can’t be solved by simply replacing its current members...,'TOOTHLESS. Ineffective. Weak' - Since its formation in 2011, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission has been a lightning rod for criticism. This hasn’t gone away under the National League for Democracy government; if anything, the volume and tone has been ratcheted up. During a recent debate in parliament over the commission’s 2015 annual report, 16 lawmakers took the opportunity to discuss its perceived failings. Some proposed sacking all of the commission’s members and replacing them..."
Author/creator: Hein Ko Soe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Frontier Myanmar"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 September 2016


Title: Burma: All the President's Men (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ )
Date of publication: 25 September 2014
Description/subject: 2014 Report on the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia.....""...To date, the MNHRC [Myanmar National Human Rights Commission] has still not successfully investigated and taken effective action on any case submitted to it. Sitt Myaing, secretary of the MNHRC, stated in January that they haven’t received many complaints from war-torn areas. However, when the MNHRC chairman publicly announces that the institution won’t investigate complaints in active conflict areas, is this really a surprise? Despite the widespread and deeply serious violations taking place in conflict-affected areas, the reality that the MNHRC won’t investigate them is a significant flaw in its claim to take human rights seriously. Furthermore, the situation in Arakan State is deteriorating and rather than even a statement that denounces human rights abuses, as various other human rights organisations have done, the MNHRC has made itself complicit in the persecution of the Rohingya by acting as a tool to cover up atrocities committed by the police force and reinforcing perceptions that Rohingya are illegal immigrants..."
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership + Equality Myanmar
Format/size: pdf (294K)
Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


Title: Burma: All the President's Men (English)
Date of publication: 25 September 2014
Description/subject: "...To date, the MNHRC [Myanmar National Human Rights Commission] has still not successfully investigated and taken effective action on any case submitted to it. Sitt Myaing, secretary of the MNHRC, stated in January that they haven’t received many complaints from war-torn areas. However, when the MNHRC chairman publicly announces that the institution won’t investigate complaints in active conflict areas, is this really a surprise? Despite the widespread and deeply serious violations taking place in conflict-affected areas, the reality that the MNHRC won’t investigate them is a significant flaw in its claim to take human rights seriously. Furthermore, the situation in Arakan State is deteriorating and rather than even a statement that denounces human rights abuses, as various other human rights organisations have done, the MNHRC has made itself complicit in the persecution of the Rohingya by acting as a tool to cover up atrocities committed by the police force and reinforcing perceptions that Rohingya are illegal immigrants..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership + Equality Myanmar
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Date of entry/update: 26 September 2014


Title: Statement Calling for a Transparent and Participatory Drafting Process of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission’s Enabling Law (English. Burmese)
Date of publication: 10 May 2012
Description/subject: "We, the undersigned civil society, community-based organizations and networks, welcome the decision made by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission to become an institution established under an act of the Parliament in order to fully comply with the Paris Principles and act as an independent institution..."....endorsed by 57 Burma groups
Language: English, Burmese
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership et al
Format/size: pdf (216K - English; 237K - Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmapartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Statement-on-nhrc-enabling-law-Bur-10052...
Date of entry/update: 11 May 2012


Title: Empowering the Myanmar Human Rights Commission
Date of publication: 09 May 2012
Description/subject: "...'The Paris Principles are the international standard and that is what they should be aiming for,'... 'If they are heading in that direction, if that is what they are aiming for, then they have a long way to go. 'The commission is [currently] almost at the whim of the president. You need to sort out the legislative underpinning of the commission through an act of Parliament so it does have guaranteed funding. And then you figure out what function and role it is actually going to play.' So while a few seminars and consultations may help increase the legitimacy of the international community’s policy of reengagement, a fundamental overhaul including constitutionally enshrined independence, guaranteed funding and full transparency is necessary to prevent the MHRC remaining merely the butt of snide jibes from cynical observers."
Author/creator: Charlie Campbell
Language: English
Source/publisher: "the Irrawaddy"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 13 May 2012


Title: President sends message to Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker stating issues related to low salaries of union level personnel, increased pensions of retired service personnel and establishing Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
Date of publication: 29 April 2012
Description/subject: Exchange of letters between Parliament and President on the legal status of, inter alia, the National Human Rights Commission and who would pay their salaries...See also the reports of the 27th and 28th days of the 3rd Session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Alternate URLs, below)
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The New Light of Myanmar"
Format/size: pdf (209K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/PYIDH-NLM2012-04-25-day27.pdf
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/PYIDH-NLM2012-04-27-day28.pdf
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2012


Title: Burma’s NHRC: An Empty Gesture
Date of publication: 10 January 2012
Description/subject: "The international community should call on the regime to take the necessary steps to make the commission a truly independent and effective mechanism On 5 September 2011, Burma’s regime announced that it had established a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) charged with promoting and safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens in accordance with the 2008 Constitution. While the creation of a NHRC could be seen as a positive step, many welcomed the development with skepticism. We know very little about Burma’s new NHRC. No official information about the procedure, mandate, and responsibilities of the commission has been made accessible to the public and, in particular, victims of human rights violations. The information gathered is piecemeal, collected from a number of different statements and interviews. The entire process of establishing the NHRC has been everything but transparent, lending support to the argument that this is nothing more than an empty gesture designed to placate the international community at a time when the regime is seeking to have sanctions lifted..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership
Format/size: pdf (1.24MB)
Date of entry/update: 16 January 2012


Title: Burma human rights body is not all that is needed
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: "...The Australian government has decided to cooperate with the Burmese junta in providing human rights training courses for government officials. The decision was in response to the ruling State Peace and Development Council's (SPDC) indication that it intends to establish a national Human Rights Commission..."
Author/creator: Khin Maung Win
Language: English
Source/publisher: Legal Issues on Burma Journal No. 6 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Alternate URLs: The original and authoritative version of this article may be found on http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal%20Issues%20on%20Burma%20Journal%206.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Military Regime to Establish Base on Mars ... or a Human Rights Commission
Date of publication: April 2000
Description/subject: "Recently, the military regime indicated it might establish a human rights commission in Burma...the article considers the practicalities of establishing an effective human rights commission under Burma's current governance. The human rights commission being contemplated is a type of body existing in many countries and internationally known as a National Human Rights Institution ('NHRI'). The article provides a general background of NHRIs, notes the existing NHRIs in the Asia-Pacific, and addresses some main features of an NHRI. Then, with this background, an analysis is made of the relevant factors in Burma. It is hoped this will provide a basic explanation about NHRIs, which may assist in the ongoing discussion on how such a body could feature in Burma's future..."
Author/creator: John Southalan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Legal Issues on Burma Journal No. 5 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003