18 May 2021 — London/Yangon — Burma Human Rights Network condemns in the strongest terms the fascist military for their continued persecution of journalists and members of the media following the unconscionable conviction and sentencing of Democratic Voice of Burma journalist, Ko Min Nyo. He was sentenced to three years in prison under Section 505(a) of the Burmese Penal Code. Section 505(a) is draconian law prohibiting speech against the fascist military under the pretense of keeping order. Ko Min Nyo is one of many journalists detained, beaten, and sentenced for covering the situation on the ground following the military’s coup on 1 February. The fascist Tatmadaw has been especially heavy-handed against local journalists in an effort to prevent the spread of information about their crimes against humanity.
“The fascist Tatmadaw is afraid of having their atrocious behavior witnessed by the public and the international community. They try to obscure their crimes with more crimes, and it is plain for the world to see. They must immediately release Ko Min Nyo and all other detained journalists and political prisoners. As the Tatmadaw grows more desperate, they will likely become more brutal. It is vital that the international community responds immediately to the crimes they have already committed before they become an even more brutal,” said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
At the same time, three journalists and two activists from DVB were arrested in Thailand on 9 May for ‘illegally crossing the border.” These individuals were in fear of targeted persecution and war and have every right to seek asylum. They have the right to be protected and should be treated humanely. The Thai Government must release any journalist or person fleeing persecution and war in Burma, offer them asylum, and grant them access to UNHCR to apply for refugee status.
On top of the immediate release of detained journalists and political activists, the Burmese military must immediately step down from power. The National Unity Government must commit now to eliminating all draconian laws which the NLD government failed to address while they were in power, which served the purpose of protecting the powerful from criticism, including Section 505(a). The international community must increase their pressure on the Burmese military, sanctioning all state-tied enterprises including the energy and financial sectors.
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378