September 2014 AAPP Monthly Chronology
Summary of the current Situation
As of September’s end, there are 80 activists incarcerated in Burma, with 130 activists currently awaiting trial for political actions. Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act continues to account for a large number of these arrests and incarcerations.
The following is an analysis of media coverage and AAPP information received from Burma, focusing on issues regarding political prisoners, as well as developments pertaining to civil rights and freedoms in Burma.
MONTH IN REVIEW
In September, AAPP documented the sentencing of 11 political activists, the indictment of 13 individuals (including 2 detained), and the release of 2 political prisoners.
The Committee for Scrutinizing the Remaining Political Prisoners was again an issue in September. Aung Thein, Deputy Minister in the President’s office and Secretary of the Verification Committee for the Release of Remaining Political Prisoners, was quoted in RFA at one point stating that the committee may be disbanded as there are almost no remaining political prisoners. He argued that those that do remain are incarcerated under criminal offences. He also hinted at plans to create new linkages between the Minister of Home Affairs and political prisoners group to set up a new committee.
Issues surrounding media freedom also persisted through September. A two day conference on media development was hosted by the Myanmar Media Development Thematic Working Group, UNESCO, the Ministry of Information, and International Media Support (an NGO) in Rangoon on September 18 and 19. At the same time, the Government has decided to bring defamation charges against two publications in Burma, after negotiations through the Interim Press Council failed to resolve ongoing issues.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) submitted a proposal to the government urging them to sign the International Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Covenant and the Civil and Political Rights Covenant. The current government had also promised in January of this year that they would sign on to the UN Convention Against Torture in September, yet no mention has been made of such a step this month.
(16 January 2014-RFA-Burmese) (17 September 2014 – RFA/Burmese) (6 September 2014 – Eleven) (September 15 2014 – Eleven) (18 September 2014 – Mizzima)
Student Activist Arbitrarily Arrested and Detained
Phyu Hnin Htwe, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABSFU), has been arrested and arbitrarily detained by Burmese authorities. On September 13, she was arrested from her home in Patheingyi Township, Mandalay, by Lieutenant Khin Maung Oo of Pathein-Gyi Myoma Police Station, and immediately indicted by Yinmabin Township Court under Section 364 and 368 of the Penal Code (kidnapping charges).
The charges relate to an incident occurring on May 18, 2014, when villagers in Letpaduang temporarily ‘kidnapped’ two Chinese staff of the Wanbao Company over ongoing disputes regarding the controversial mine project in the area. Phyu Hnin Htwe was there teaching grade eleven students, and was charged with six other residence for the kidnapping. The case against five of the accused was dropped at a court hearing due to a mutual understanding between the Company and the governments of China and Burma. Phyu Hnin Htwe, along with her co accused Win Kyaw, were absent from the hearing. The authorities had not pursued the case until her arrest on September 13. Since her arrest, Phyu Hnin Htwe has had court appearances on September 15, 23, and 30 at Yinmabin Township Court. She continues to be denied bail.
(13 September 2014 – RFA/Burmese) (15 September 2014 – Irrawaddy) (24 September 2014 – DVB) (15 September 2014 – VOA) (23 September 2014 – Burma Partnership) (16 September 2014 – AAPP Inside Source) (14 September 2014 – BBC/Burmese) (26 September 2014- Asia Human Rights Commission) (30 September 2014 – Eleven) (30 September 2014 – RFA/Burmese)
Two Charged, One Arrested in Relation to Protests Against Student Bill
Three individuals have been charged and one arrested in relation to protests against the National Education Bill held on September 4 in Taungoo Township, Pegu Division. Laurents Kyaw Kyaw, (Chairman for the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABSFU)), Tun Aung Kyaw, (ABSFU member), and Aung Than Htay (aka Japei) have been charged under Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act, and Aung Than Htay was also arrested around midnight on September 9. As of September 10, Aung Than Htay was still detained in No. 2 Police Station in Taungoo Township, Pegu Division. Aung Htet (Coordinator of the Information Committee, ABSFU), who contacted the police station on September 10, said that the police informed him that Aung Than Htay would most likely be released on parole if there were two grantors for him. Aung Than Htay was previously incarcerated in 2013 for six months under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code.
(10 September 2014 – RFA/Burmese) (10 September 2014 – DVB) (11 September 2014 – Mizzima) (15 September 2014 – DVB) (15 September 2014 – RFA)
Download PDF file September 2014 – Chronology