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Home > Main Library > Law and Constitution > Economic, Social and Cultural issues > Religion > Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to religion (commentary)

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Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to religion (commentary)

Individual Documents

Title: NLD considers religious harmony law
Date of publication: 20 May 2016
Description/subject: "A Law to protect religious harmony is being considered by the new government following failed attempts to pass such a bill in the previous parliament, which instead enacted controversial legislation seen as undermining religious freedoms..."
Author/creator: Ei Ei Toe Lwin
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Myanmar Times"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 May 2016

Title: Myanmar: UN rights experts express alarm at adoption of first of four ‘protection of race and religion’ bills
Date of publication: 27 May 2015
Description/subject: GENEVA (27 May 2015) – "A group of United Nations human rights experts today expressed alarm at the enactment of the Population Control Healthcare Bill in Myanmar, the first of four in a package of bills that seek to ‘protect race and religion’. The bills are highly discriminatory against ethnic and religious minorities as well as against women. “These bills risk deepening discrimination against minorities and setting back women’s rights in Myanmar,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. “At a time when thousands of Rohingya are already fleeing the country by boat, this sends precisely the wrong signal to these communities.” On Saturday, State media reported that the President of Myanmar had signed the Population Control Healthcare Bill. While the stated objectives of the Bill are to improve living standards, alleviate poverty, ensure quality healthcare and develop maternal and child health, its provisions are extremely vague and lack any protection against discrimination, the independent experts noted. Under the newly adopted law, certain areas can be designated for special health care measures, including birth spacing. “Any coercive requirement for birth spacing with the aim to ‘organise’ family planning would constitute a disproportionate interference in the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and could amount to a violation of women’s human rights,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, noting that the Bill allows township groups to ‘organise’ married couples to practice 36-month birth spacing between pregnancies. “Women should be able to choose freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 29 May 2015

Title: Myanmar: Parliament must reject discriminatory ‘race and religion’ laws (English/ Burmese ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 03 March 2015
Description/subject: Joint statement by Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists..."Myanmar’s Parliament must reject or extensively revise four draft laws addressing “race and religion” that are currently under its consideration, said Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). These draft laws are discriminatory and could result in violations of a number of human rights, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the right to privacy, children’s rights and the right to freedom of expression. In December 2014, President Thein Sein submitted to Parliament a package of four draft laws aimed at “protecting race and religion”. The four draft laws – the Religious Conversion Bill, the Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Bill, the Population Control Healthcare Bill and the Monogamy Bill – contain many discriminatory provisions, in particular on religious and gender grounds, and do not accord with international human rights law and standards, including Myanmar’s legal obligations as a state party to the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)..."
Language: English, Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists
Format/size: pdf (84K-English; 170K-Burmese)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/AI-2015-03-03-Parliament_must_reject_discriminatory_race_and_rel...
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2015

Title: New Religious Legislation in Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 February 2015
Description/subject: "Since Myanmar’s opening in 2011, the country has seen a rise in Burman-Buddhist nationalism. Monk-led groups such as ‘969’ and the Organization for Protection of Race and Religion (‘MaBaTha’) and their messages of religious chauvinism enjoy strong popular support. Islam and its followers are particular targets. In addition to sporadic outbreaks of mob violence, this nationalist sentiment has expressed itself in calls for laws to promote and protect Buddhism. This paper provides an overview of the current status of this draft legislation. It looks at origins of the bills currently before the legislature, a summary of their key provisions, the likely next steps and their political implications. It also discusses the recent moves to disenfranchise over a million Temporary Registration Card holders – most of whom are Muslim, and many of whom are in Rakhine State..."
Author/creator: Richard Horsey
Language: English
Source/publisher: Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum
Format/size: pdf (246K)
Date of entry/update: 21 February 2015

Title: Law and Religion in Burma
Date of publication: April 2001
Description/subject: "Burma was annexed by the British through the three wars in 1824-1826, 1852-1853 and 1885-1886. When colonial rule started, it was British policy (as in other British colonies) not to interfere with local religion. The British did not want to create further confrontations. If they had not adopted this policy, there would have been more uprisings and more discontent among the people. And that would have endangered the position of the British. The policy reflected the experience of the colonial administrators in the implementation of colonial rule in India in the 18th century...Although according to the regime there is religious freedom in Burma, the reality is that there is religious discrimination. The junta is suppressing Muslims and Christians in order to disperse them, while it pretends to promote Buddhism. Buddhism is promoted by the military at the expense of other religions to increase SPDC's nationalism. The generals systematically use propaganda in their attempts to falsely convince the Buddhists that the military regime is representing their interests. Such is the state of Law and Religion in Burma today. Under the cloak of law, Buddhists are suppressed and the Sangha curtailed, as these are among the most active in the struggle for the restoration of democracy and human rights."
Author/creator: Peter Gutter
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Legal Issues on Burma Journal" No. 8 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Alternate URLs: The original (and authoritative) version of this article may be found in http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Legal%20Issues%20on%20Burma%20Journal%208.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003