10 July, 2020
The United States of America
As we remember the one-year anniversary since their arrest, WE, THE UNDERSIGNED ORGANIZATIONS, express our deep concern not only about the severe sentencing punishment, but the complete lack of judicial due process in the case. We hereby denounce the convictions of the six Arakanese men and women and call for their immediately release.
On July 10, 2019, six youth leaders (Chairman Hein Zaw, Vice Chairman Ma Aye Myat Mon, Information Officer Ko Ye Kyaw Htet, Ko Tin Hlaing Oo), of the Arakan Association Singapore (AAS) were arrested and deported from Singapore and remanded to custody to the Government of Myanmar over alleged insurgent ties. Deportees to Myanmar are routinely subjected to severe human rights violations, including torture. The leaders were falsely accused of violating Myanmar’s counter terrorism law and sentenced on August 9, 2019 to a minimum of seven years in prison.
We are appealing to nation-states and head of governments to uphold their international obligations with regard to deportations and prevent future violations of the rights of Arakanese people. We are especially calling on the government of Singapore to IMMEDIATELY STOP the concocted deportation of Arakanese migrants living in Singapore into the hands of the oppressive and rootless regime in Myanmar. Government of Singapore should be accountable for the gross human rights violations.
The government of Myanmar has targeted activists, youth, journalists, leaders, political opposition members and among others. Arakanese who are deported to Myanmar on politically motivated tromped-up charges are subject to an unfair legal system, which has utterly failed to acknowledge and confront racial injustice and discrimination against Arakanese people.
Prosecutions for criminal defamation increased since in 2019, particularly under section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Act. The authorities have been arresting civilians under a range of laws, especially section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law and section 505 of the penal code. Section 66(d) has been used repeatedly. A broadly worded provision that does not allow for pretrial release on bail, has been used mainly by the military.
The injustice and discriminatory practices also affect other racial and ethnic minorities in Myanmar, which is against the United Nations anti-racism human rights framework. We, the Arakanese people, are therefore calling nation-states to uphold their historic commitments to combat structural forms of discrimination and intolerance that was made at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001. And We, the Arakanese people, are calling for holding those who are responsible for violating this agreement accountable.
As the ongoing armed conflict between with the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army intensifies, the international community continue to condemn the Myanmar Army for unlawful arrests, torture, killing, using civilians as human shields during military operations, forced labor and other acts that transgress human rights against Arakanese people in Arakan State. Over 200,000 of Arakanese have become Internally Displaced and refugees from war. Hundreds of thousands have been victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Ongoing fighting has fostered conflict-related sexual violence, with internally displaced women and girls especially vulnerable to sexual abuse and gang raped.
We denounce the convictions of the six Arakanese men and women, and call for their immediately release, for the following reasons:
They were deported on false charges and wrongfully convicted. The trials were filled with irregularities and illegalities that represents a violation of due process. The process was rushed, and the health and lives of these defendants are at risk in the prison where they are being held, due to inhumane conditions including lack of sufficient food, exposure to raw sewage, and not having enough room to sleep lying down.
We also condemn the Myanmar authorities for the use of criminalization tactic. The struggle for Arakanese and their rights and the fight against brutality are connected. Arakanese community for generations have disproportionately borne the brunt of Myanmar militarization and brutality that often is also deployed to detain and death in custody.
The International Court of Justice’s Jan. 23 interim order in a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar is designed to protect civilians and preserve the crime sites. Myanmar is in violation of the International court of Justice’s January Provisional measure to prevent genocide.
We believe that Myanmar has perpetrated crimes against humanity, including murder; extermination; forcible transfers of populations; imprisonment; torture; enforced disappearance of persons, gang Rape. persecution against identifiable groups on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, ethnic groups. And other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury. The prohibition on torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment is firmly established in international law.
Singapore is a party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948. Also, Singapore ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), in October 2015. Efforts must be taken to prevent atrocities, protect vulnerable communities, and advance justice and accountability for Arakanese.
We therefore strongly urge the Singapore government to secure the safety of Arakanese, who was forcibly deported to Myanmar and to take every measure to protect them from arbitrary detention and torture. The Singapore government should bring them back to Singapore.
We urge the authorities to immediately release all Arakanese arbitrarily detained in Myanmar and abroad and fully protect the human Rights.
We stand committed to the inherent value and dignity of every person at home and abroad. We stand together for Deportation to a country where an individual faces a risk of persecution. Human rights law requires governments to refrain from arbitrarily taking a person’s life and to enact positive measures to prevent loss of life.
We, the Arakanese Community, call upon members State and all other parties to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide to immediately protection to all individuals who belong to victim targeted for genocide and other crimes against humanity.
We Stand Up for Racial Justice and Equality.
Arakan American Community
Canada Arakanese Community
European Campaign for Arakan
International Campaign for Arakan (ICA)