Myanmar authorities should immediately release two student leaders of the Rakhine Students’ Union imprisoned for protesting internet restrictions in Rakhine and Chin states, said Fortify Rights, a human rights organisation, on Thursday.
“Myanmar’s crackdown on freedom of expression must end,” said Matthew Smith, CEO of Fortify Rights. “The government’s imprisoning of critics and human rights defenders is part of a much wider tapestry of abuse.”On July 23, the Kamayut Township Court sentenced Myat Hein Tun, 18, and Kyaw Lin, 22 to one-month in prison for failing to inform the authorities in advance of protest. They are currently imprisoned in Yangon Insein Prison.
On February 23, members of Yangon University’s Rakhine Students’ Union, the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), and Yangon University of Economics Students’ Union held a protest at the Hledan Junction in Yangon.
The authorities charged all nine student protesters for holding a protest without notifying the government in advance in violation of Section 4 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law (the “peaceful assembly law”). On March 25, the Kamayut Township Court sentenced the other seven protesters to one-month imprisonment with hard labor.
The government of Myanmar should provide reparations—financial and otherwise—to all nine students and other current and former political prisoners, Fortify Rights said.
On January 23, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ordered Myanmar to comply with several “provisional measures” to protect the rights of the Rohingya ethnic monority and preserve evidence relating to an ongoing case against Myanmar for genocide.
“Myanmar evidently has a lot to hide” said Matthew Smith. “These arrests and detentions, just like the internet ban, are unjustifiable.” # Lotus/Karobi