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Burma/Myanmar: New Forms of Control and Threats to Freedoms of Expression, Assembly and Association Amidst Reforms Fanfare

By Forum-Asia  •  March 6, 2013

An international fact-finding mission was conducted by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) on 24- 30 October 2012 to assess the situation of freedoms of expression, assembly and association in Burma, against the backdrop of the apparent democratic reforms embarked by the Burma government since 2011, including among others, by releasing over 700 political prisoners to date, setting up a national human rights institution in September 2011, holding a competitive by-election in April 2012, and undertaking purported legislative reforms, which saw the repeal of several restrictive laws and the enactment of several new ones.

The four-member mission team – representatives of FORUM-ASIA, SUARAM (Malaysia) and HRD-Pilipinas (the Philippines) – spent seven days in Rangoon, where they interviewed more than 50 individuals comprising human rights NGOs, labour rights activists, former political prisoners, representatives of student unions, farmers organisations, women organisations, and media organisations (including members of the interim National Press Council), lawyers, a Member of Parliament (who also sits in the Parliament’s Rule of Law Committee), members of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC), including its Chairperson, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The mission team also sought to meet with several government ministries and officials, but these requests were not responded to. Some follow-up interviews were conducted in a separate trip to Burma made by one member of the mission team on 21-23 January 2013.

Click here to Download the full report.

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This post is in: Human Rights, Political Prisoners, Spotlight

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