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HRC46: Ongoing crisis for democracy and free expression in Myanmar

March 15th, 2021  •  Author:   Article19  •  2 minute read
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ARTICLE 19’s full statement during the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council.

ARTICLE 19 thanks the Special Rapporteur for his report. The report details a wholesale assault on democracy and freedom of expression with complete impunity during the coup. It is imperative that the Human Rights Council enhance its scrutiny of Myanmar.

Protesters have been killed for demonstrating against the overthrow of the democratically-elected government. Critics of the military and journalists covering the protests have been arrested and harassed. The military has repeatedly shut down the Internet and criminalised online criticism in an effort to silence dissent and disrupt efforts to organize.

Security forces have killed more than 60 protesters since the coup and have repeatedly fired live rounds, tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons at protesters and into homes.

The military has sought to silence the country’s media by de-licensing media outlets, searching the offices of news organizations, and arresting and attacking journalists.

The military has repeatedly shut off the Internet and cut access to major social media sites, preventing people from sharing information, organising protests, and exposing human rights violations in real time. A proposed Cyber Security Law and already-enacted amendments to the Electronic Transactions Law will grant the government further power to block websites, order Internet shutdowns, and silence and imprison critics.

All Member States must condemn these human rights violations in absolute terms and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

The Council’s upcoming resolution on Myanmar must address the trends highlighted by the Special Rapporteur, including by explicitly calling for Myanmar to withdraw the proposed Cyber Security Law and to immediately repeal amendments to the Electronic Transactions Law, Penal Code, and Code of Criminal Procedure.

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