Amnesty International Slams Naypyidaw

Burma's military-dominated government was singled out by Amnesty International for its deplorable human rights record. (PHOTO: THE IRRAWADDY)

The Burmese government has enacted limited political and economic reforms, but human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law in ethnic minority areas have increased during the past year, said Amnesty International in its 2012 report which was released on Thursday.

“Myanmar’s government took a pivotal decision to free more than 300 political prisoners and allow Aung San Suu Kyi to contest elections,” the London-based human rights group said. However, “an escalation of conflict-related human rights violations in ethnic minority areas, as well as continuing harassment and detention of activists … suggested limits to the reform.”

Referring to the human rights violations in ethnic areas—most notably Karen, Shan and Kachin states where armed conflict continues—Amnesty International said, “Some of these [violations] amounted to crimes against humanity or war crimes. Forced displacement reached its highest level in a decade, and reports of forced labour their highest level in several years. [Burmese] authorities maintained restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, and perpetrators of human rights violations went unpunished. Despite releasing at least 313 political prisoners during the year, authorities continued to arrest such people, further violating their rights by subjecting them to ill-treatment and poor prison conditions.”

Noting that restrictions on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi had been relaxed, the report commended the newly elected government in Naypyidaw for “slightly” relaxing the country’s policy of media censorship; for passing an improved labour law; and for establishing the National Human Rights Commission.

The report also noted that in September 2011, the Burmese government “suspended construction of the controversial, China-backed Myitsone Dam in Kachin state, citing domestic opposition to the project. It also reportedly ceased demanding that ethnic minority armed groups become official Border Guard Forces … Parliament also passed a law allowing peaceful protests under certain conditions.”

However, it condemned Naypyidaw for its human rights record, for conducting a policy of forced labor, and cited reports of the Burmese army “using prison convicts as porters, human shields and mine sweepers.”

The Burmese army also came under fire for displacing tens of thousands of villagers in conflict areas, for burning down villages, and for cases of violence and sexual assault on civilians, mainly ethnic villagers.

Read Amnesty International’s full Myanmar report here:

Headlined “Report 2012: No longer business as usual for tyranny and injustice,” Amnesty International’s 50th Global report saved its most damning criticism for the United Nations Security Council, which, in the face of worldwide civic protests in 2011, it referred to as “tired, out of step, and increasingly unfit for purpose.”

In addition to the Burmese regime, Amnesty also singled out the governments of North Korea, Sudan, Israel and China for repressive and horrific human rights records.

5 Responses to Amnesty International Slams Naypyidaw

  1. Amnesty must have got it wrong.

    According to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Irrawaddy, DVB and Mizzima- there is this amazing President and Reformist government who they all worship and urge all the people of Burma to worship at the same time for the progress of Burma with big roads and buildings like in Singapore.

    A few hundreds killed, a few hundreds of thousands driven out into freezing cold for months and months and some dying because of that,more and more people evicted off the land are OK because there was Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki-moon visiting Rangoon, and there will be a Bogyoke Aung San movie coming out.

  2. The fascists we have known have consolidated their power base with the help of frightened ex-liberals and opportunist technocrats and are now governing in more or less awkward tandem with them.

  3. It is quite true that people in the areas of conflict suffer the worst of human rights violations, particularly the Kachins and the Shans. But the abuses are widespread, even to the outskirts of Rangoon.
    They will have to go.
    But would it help to point our fingers at the President for all these maladies and madness. Certainly, he is one for reforms. It will take all the people to get a good job done in the face of hard-core opponents.
    Please shout if you must shout. But let us help dis-entangle the entanglements first.

  4. Amnesty International seems has not understood that Myanmar is not anymore central ruled,– each state has his own government and this often civilian Government is inexperience and weak not used to decide more by trhem self or even take a pro active role in all these issues.
    Some are even against the Presidents new way and things get temporary worse. This is called transition in government, means changing the mind set od every one from what was learned to be right or allowed to do or not to talk about – to change all this.
    Only through this,- if not by a third party arranged , people in Taunguk on 3.6. could easy print and distribute hate letters against Muslims at all,- 150 to 250 mob were allowed to wait for 1 Myanmar citizen from upper Myanmar ( but muslim ) to be slaughtered and killed, even tried to burn. All was public known for 5 to 6 hours over the Sunday 3.6.2012 with Taunguk Police, Army, Security, Rakhine Party chiefs and big boss Businessmen,– they later even watched the killing and could stop only the bruning of the bodies,– later No one knows who were the murders ???? what simple or
    That was same as in Sittwe and Maungdaw not a Nay Pyi Taw at first ,- it was a Rakhine Government and here Rakhine National Development Party issue. Shan State the same.
    Are these important facts of who is now at first important for which region in these cases mentioned by Amnesty in their report ???? Or is it just hit the old same nail again….

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