BURMA: Number of Politically Motivated Arrests on the Rise, says Asian Human Rights Commission

A report by the Asian Human Rights Commission warns of a rise in the number of politically motivated arrests. The AHRC welcomed the prospect of the newly elected NLD led civilian government, but pointed to Burma’s ongoing human rights violations.

“Despite the historic election having taken place, peaceful protestors have continued to be subject to rights violations,” The AHRC said in a statement.

One case cited by AHRC was that of former political prisoner Nilar Thein, of the pro-democracy 88 Generation Peace and Open Society. Nilar Thein was arrested on February 24 this year for her participation in a protest in 2015, which had been organised in support of student demonstrators who had been marching from Mandalay to Yangon calling for amendments to the National Education Law.

“The Burmese government is not new to manipulating records and fabricating charges to hold persons in custody and to controlling all forms of protest against the government,” The AHRC said in their statement to the press, “The judicial process in Burma is often mere rubber-stamping of military policies rolled out as government action.”

AHRC called on the newly elected government to rein in the power of the military and put a stop to human rights violations, but noted that this would be a major challenge.

“Systematic failure of justice institutions and lack of the rule of law will be the biggest challenges for the new government,” AHRC added.

According to the latest statistics from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, there are 87 political prisoners currently in Burmese jails with a further 409 awaiting trial as of February 2016.

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