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Burma: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015

By The United States Department of State  •  April 13, 2016

Burma has a quasi-parliamentary system of government in which national parliament selects the president and constitutional provisions grant one-quarter of national, regional, and state parliamentary seats to active-duty military appointees. The military also has the authority to appoint the ministers of defense, home affairs, and border affairs and indefinitely assume power over all branches of the government should the president declare a national state of emergency. On November 8, the country held nationwide parliamentary elections that the public widely accepted as a credible reflection of the will of the people, despite some structural flaws. The opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, chaired by Aung San Suu Kyi, won 390 of 491 contested seats in the bicameral parliament. Civilian authorities did not maintain effective control over the security forces.

The three leading human rights problems in the country were restrictions on freedoms of speech, association, and assembly; human rights violations in ethnic minority areas affected by conflict; and restrictions on members of the Rohingya population. Arrests of students, land rights activists, and individuals in connection with the exercise of free speech and assembly continued throughout the year, and the excessive sentencing of many of these individuals after prolonged trial diminished trust in the judicial system. Mass displacement and gross human rights abuses took place in ethnic areas with renewed clashes, and the government took marginal steps to address reports of abuses. The government did little to address the root causes of human rights abuses, statelessness, violence, and discrimination against Rohingya. The government disenfranchised many Rohingya who voted in previous elections and rejected almost all Rohingya and many Muslim candidates from contesting in the November 8 elections. While authorities started to return thousands of displaced Rohingya and other Muslim households to their locations of origin inside Rakhine State, more than 130,000 such persons remained displaced in camps.

Download the full report in English here.

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This post is in: 2015 Burma Elections, ASEAN, Business and Human Rights, Displacement, Economy, Ethnic Nationalities, Human Rights, Law, Political Prisoners

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