Statement on the Arrest and Prosecution of Students during COVID-19 Pandemic
September 15, 2020
On September 9, three students were arrested by the police while staging a protest in front of the Arakan State Government Office in Sittwe calling for 4G internet reinstallation and chanting slogans expressing their distrust of the Arakan State Government and human rights abuses committed by the military.
On September 10, the three students were charged under Section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law and Sections 25 and 29 of the Natural Disaster Management Law.
The student unions in Hsipaw and Lashio Township, Shan State, and Kayah State led similar movements. On September 10 and September 12, protests were held in Rangoon and Mandalay respectively in support of these student unions.
The protests resulted in the arrest of Kyaw Naing Htay, Toe Toe Aung and Than Naing in Arakan State’s Sittwe Town. Also arrested were All Burma Federation of Student Unions members Kyaw Thiha Ye Kyaw, Soe Hla Naing, Myo Chit Zaw (a.k.a Ba Chit) in Mandalay Division, and Wai Yan Phyo Moe and Paing Min Khant in Rangoon Division. The arrested were charged under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law and the Natural Disaster Management Law by the relevant authorities.
According to the information of the Yangon University Students Union this is a sad reminder of the repression of political activists Wai Yan Phyo Moe and Paing Min Khant by military intelligence under the previous military dictatorship who were detained to ostensibly undergo a medical checkup but later arrested for anti-government activities.
These most recent arrests and prosecutions of students ignores their demands to prevent human rights abuses while simultaneously creating new human rights violations. In Burma human rights abuses continue unabated and citizens are not allowed to exercise their basic rights and suffer violations of these rights. Only if the root causes of human rights abuses are identified and perpetrators prosecuted will citizens be able to enjoy a safe and healthy livelihood.
Therefore, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) earnestly urges and calls on the government to effectively address and end the ongoing arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses in Burma, to cease the civil war during the COVID-19 pandemic, to establish an independent commission of inquiry into civilian casualties during the war, and take immediate action to stop the misuse of the Natural Disaster Management Law, and to implement the rule of law.
For More Information Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
Tate Naing Secretary +95(0)9428023828
Bo Kyi Joint Secretary +95(0)9425308840
Aung Myo Kyaw Rangoon Office Head +95(0)9428117348