Karenni Civil Society Reps Quit Panel over State Parliament’s ‘Silence’ on Killings

By Zue Zue 11 January 2018

YANGON — Four civil society representatives have resigned from a Karenni State parliamentary committee citing a lack of justice in the alleged executions by state security forces of three Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) members and a civilian on Dec. 20.

The four civil society representatives were members of the Karenni State Parliament’s complaints-handling committee. They said they resigned to protest the state government and parliament’s silence over the alleged executions and what they said was the unjust charging of five Karenni men who protested the alleged killings.

On Jan. 2, the five members of the Union of Karenni State Youth (UKSY) and the Karenni State Farmers Union were charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly Law after leading a Dec. 22 protest against the alleged executions.

The KNPP claims four of its members and a civilian were executed during a Dec. 20 raid by troops from the Regional Operations Command of the Myanmar Army (or Tatmadaw) on the KNPP’s camp in Loikaw. It claims the military killed the four at the camp, removed the bodies and burned them back at their own base.

The Tatmadaw claims the four were killed in a firefight during the raid.

The civil society representatives said they had lost trust in the administrative, legislative and judicial branches of the state government, as neither the state government nor the parliament had spoken a word about the alleged executions or the charging of the protesters.

They also accused the Tatmadaw, and the state government and parliament, of turning a deaf ear to calls for justice by local civil society members.

“The state government is acting as if it had nothing to do with the case. We no longer have any trust in the state parliamentary committee and have submitted our resignation,” one of the four representatives, Maw Moe Myar, told The Irrawaddy.

She claimed that in the more than one year since its establishment in 2016, the complaints-handling committee had failed to perform its assigned duties properly, mainly because committee leaders were neglecting their duties.

Another representative, Khu Tu Yel, said: “It is ridiculous that those who support the truth are charged, while those who kill are not. We resigned to show our frustration with this. We have no trust in the law or the state [government].”

Their resignations reflected a loss of trust by the people and civil society in the state government and parliament, they said.

The parliamentary complaints-handling committee has 24 members, including four representatives of local civil society organizations. It is currently handling six complaints, including four related to alleged land grabbing by the Tatmadaw.