PSPD People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
[Statement] South Korean NGOs condemns the Myanmar government’s brutal crackdowns against protesters
- Int. Solidarity
- 2015.03.12 (13:17:13)
South Korean NGOs condemns the Myanmar government’s brutal crackdowns against protesters
Any attempt to undermine democracy is unacceptable.
Last March 10, Myanmar’s law enforcement personnel and their hired thugs brutally assaulted and forcibly dispersed the protestors opposing the retrogressive National Education Law, and in this process, many were arrested or injured. For about a month, student activists assembled in Yangon to hold peaceful marches and protests against the National Education Law that curtails academic freedom and restricts the autonomy of teachers and students. The Burmese government’s violent crackdown on student activists is symbolic of the rapidly shrinking democratic space in Myanmar.
The international community has been intently watching the series of open, reformative measures that began to take place with the Thein Sein regime in 2011. However, in her report published at the 28th UN Human Rights Council currently convening in Geneva, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Ms. Yanghee Lee called attention to the serious state of human rights violations in Myanmar by referring to the Burmese government’s suppression of Muslim minorities, the civil war with minorities on the Chinese border, and the human rights violations of local civilians due to development projects. Ms. Lee also stressed that ensuring the right to assembly and freedom of expression of the Burmese citizens is an urgent task.
Even though the international community is still showing concern over the human rights situation in Myanmar, the Burmese government responded to the peaceful protest of students with violence. What’s more serious is the fact that hired thugs were mobilized for the Burmese government’s violent breakdown. The hired thugs, who were sporting red armbands that read “Duty”, joined law enforcement personnel to indiscriminately assault student activists in the process of arresting and forcibly dispersing the protests. Besides this student protest, these thugs have also shown up to the Korean Garment factory workers’ protest on March 4, and were seen using violence against female workers.
In light of Myanmar’s coming November presidential election, the issue of democracy and human rights in Myanmar is a problem of interest not only for Myanmar, but also for the international community. Democratic space in Myanmar was barely created with the sacrifices and efforts of a great number of people. If the Burmese government fails to deviate from its past behaviors of silencing students, workers, and displaced people with violence, then that little space will also soon completely disappear. The Burmese government must stop the violent breakdowns of peaceful protests and guarantee the freedom to peaceful assembly. Additionally, the government must immediately release all arrestees and attempt to communicate with the protesters. The more violently the Burmese government responds, the harder it will be for Myanmar to escape the disgrace of being a human rights violating country, and this will definitely not help Myanmar’s development.
The civil society of Korea will be in active solidarity with the Burmese citizens in support of Myanmar’s democracy and human rights.
March 12, 2015
Advocates for Public Interest Law
Energy and Climate Policy Institute for Just Transition
Human Rights Law Foundation Gong Gam
Institute for Law and Human Rights in Society
Korea Center for United Nations Human Rights Policy
Korean House for International Solidarity
MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy