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Upper House approves Human Rights Commission Bill

Originally appeared in Mizzima

August 30, 2013

The Upper House Parliament has approved the controversial Human Rights Commission Bill on August 28.

The bill, proposed by the Presidential Office Deputy Minister U That Shin, has been severely criticized by social organizations.

Therefore, the Upper House amended the objectives of the bill – to improve protection of fundamental rights of citizens, to recognize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to head formation of institutions that uphold human rights, and to work together with local and international organizations. Individual approval of each and every MP was taken for every section.

However, the bill is still in the draft stage and whether the Lower House would approve it is not known yet. The approval of the Union Parliament and the President are also required to proceed further.

U Aung Myo Min, the Director of the Human Rights Education Burma, told Mizzima, “When they established the Human Rights Commission, most of the members were from government institutions and there was less representation from civil societies. The other issue is that the Human Rights Commission report is presented only to the President and the Parliament. It does not involve the people. We have to highlight such issues.”

Furthermore, U Aung Myo Min said the Human Rights Commission can investigate prisons only on the condition that prison authorities are informed in advance, and this can lead to delays and deviation tactics.

He added, “Even if the Upper House has approved the bill, we plan to send our suggestions to the Lower House and the Union Parliament. Out of the ten ASEAN countries, Myanmar is the  fifth country to establish a Human Rights Commission. I would like to advise the Myanmar Human Rights Commission to ensure they address and rectify the above issues.”

View the original article here.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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