Govt Scraps Emergency Provisions Act

By The Irrawaddy 5 October 2016

RANGOON — Burma’s government scrapped the controversial Emergency Provisions Act, frequently used to jail political dissidents in successive military administrations on Tuesday, according to state media.

The Law Revoking the Emergency Provisions Act was signed by President U Htin Kyaw after it was approved by the Union Parliament.

The Emergency Provisions Act was originally enacted in 1950. Successive military administrations ruling Burma have used the unpopular and controversial law to suppress dissidents.

The law imposes death penalties and life prison sentences for treason or sabotage against military organizations, as well as up to seven years in prison for a range of other offenses against the state.

In 2015, during U Thein Sein’s administration, the National League for Democracy—the then-leading opposition party—proposed scrapping the legislation in the Lower House. However, the move failed as the chamber was under the wider influence of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party majority at the time.

“We welcome the revoking of the law. Article 5(j) of the Act was widely used to arrest dissidents […]. The law is no longer needed,” U Aung Myo Kyaw from Assistance Association for Political Prisoners told The Irrawaddy.