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Hluttaw Refuses Human Rights Body Budget

Originally appeared in The Myanmar Times

March 26, 2012

THE Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has refused to approve the government’s budget proposal for the National Human Rights Commission on the grounds its formation did not conform to the constitution.

The government had requested a budget of K547.208 million for the human rights commission – formed by President U Thein Sein on September 5 – for 2012-13, in addition to K139.86 million for capital expenditure on office equipment, furniture and vehicles.

However, Speaker U Khin Aung Myint forwarded the request – made as part of the 2012-13 National Planning Bill – to the Joint Bill Committee after Pyithu Hluttaw representative Daw Nan Wah Nu of Konhein raised doubts about the commission’s eligibility for funding.

“I submit that money to be allocated for Myanmar National Human Commission in … the 2012-2013 National Planning Bill should not be allowed at all by the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw,” Daw Nan Wah Nu said on March 15.

Based on the bill committee’s report, the speaker told the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on March 16 that the requested budget could not be approved because the commission had not been formed with the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw’s approval and its policies and objectives had not been included in the national planning bill.

“I have received a report from the committee … and a submission by the commission,” the speaker said. “I hereby submit that the formation of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission was not in conformity with the constitution and existing laws. It is found that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission also accepts this point in its submission.”

“Therefore I, as the Speaker of Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, have decided to nullify the inclusion of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission in the list of central bodies of the state and its allotment in the budget.”

Earlier, Daw Nan Wah Nu had argued that the president had not sought parliamentary approval when forming the commission as was required under the constitution.

The president had instructed that the “Human Rights Commission’s chairman is given privileges and insignia of a minister and its members are entitled to what a deputy minister is given”, she said. “Section 202 of the constitution … states that the president with approval from the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw may designate ministries or number of ministers, may amend, add or deduct [ministries or number of ministers], and may appoint ministers.

“The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission can only be included as a union-level body or central body after it is approved by the hluttaw.

“In some countries, human rights committees and commissions and corruption fighting committees and commissions are overseen by [parliament].

View the original article here.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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