Fortify Rights demands release of Suu Kyi

Diplomatic Correspondent

2 February, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Fortify Rights, an independent and non-profit human rights body, has demanded immediate and unconditional release of Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, government ministers, members of parliament and human rights defenders detained in nationwide raids by its military.

State-run media on Monday announced that Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing would take control of the country for 12 months.

“The military needs to urgently de-escalate this situation and unconditionally free those detained today,” said Matthew Smith, CEO of Fortify Rights, which is based in Southeast Asia and registered in the United States and Switzerland.

“The military should cease any further arrests and issue guarantees of the safety and well-being of those detained,” he added.

In the early hours of Monday, the Myanmar military reportedly detained Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, members of parliament and human rights defenders. The authorities also reportedly cut mobile communication signals.

“A military coup is underway. The military should lift any blocks on mobile communications and respect the right to free expression. Access to information is critical for the Myanmar public right now,” said Matthew Smith.

The Myanmar Parliament was due to convene Monday morning. A National League for Democracy (NLD) party member told Fortify Rights that the military had detained all civilian members of parliament in Naypyidaw.

“The military must respect the results of the 2020 elections and allow the Parliament to convene as scheduled,” the Fortify Rights CEO said, adding that governments around the world should swiftly condemn the military’s blatant power grab.