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India Guides Myanmar on Path of Human Rights

Originally appeared in Hindustan Times

June 5, 2013

India is guiding the fledgling Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) to structure its body of rules and handle the volley of complaints it has received since being set up. The independent body was set up in September, 2011 comprising several retired bureaucrats, secretary U Sit Myaing told HT in the southern Chinese port city of Fangchenggang on Tuesday.

The following year, under a programme organised by the UNICEF, a group of members from the MNHRC spent a week in New Delhi meeting the heads and members of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission for Women (NCW).

“We met several people from the commissions and interacted with them about how the organisations were being run in India,” Myaing said, adding: “it was very, very useful. Very affirmative.”

“Our organisation was just months-old. We focused on how the commissions handled complaint letters from across the country; on how to decide on the responsibilities and authority of commissioners; how to delegate responsibility,” he said.

The visiting group was also impressed by the process of handing out compensation followed by the NHRC. “We were given examples of how compensations worth thousands of Indian rupees were given to victims,” he said.

The MNHRC continues to be in touch with their Indian counterparts to carry out their work.

On the issue of releasing political prisoners, Myaing said there is a demand to release 200 such prisoners from jail. “But not all of them are simply political prisoners; many had committed crimes.

An estimated 25000 prisoners have been released from jails in Myanmar through Presidential pardons and intervention of the MNHRC. “Maybe, around 1000 among them were political prisoners,” he said. Myaing said transparency and openness were required to improve the human rights situation in the country.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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