HURFOM: A new briefing paper by the Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM), “We have lost our private sphere:” the infringement of privacy rights under the military junta in Mon State, Karen State and Tanintharyi region, finds civilian rights to privacy have been eroded by the power-seeking junta. Since the attempted coup on 1 February, the regime has taken steps to extend their authority into civilian homes and their personal devices. Through premeditated amendments to Burma’s legal framework, the junta has endeavored to justify their assault on fundamental privacy rights.
Homes of prominent activists and democratically elected officials have been raided by military forces. Innocent civilians have been forced to hand over their mobile devices as soldiers try to extract evidence of pro-democracy activities. Their actions are all in violation of basic privacy laws which grant citizens protection from excessive state-oversight into their personal belongings and housing.
In pursuit of evidence to criminalize civilians who have overwhelmingly opposed the coup, the junta has made amendments to several laws. Based on cases HURFOM collected between March and August 2021, the following laws were violated by the junta in Mon State, Karen State and Dawei:
Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens: 89 cases
Ward or Village Tract Administration Law: 62 cases
Penal Code: 35 cases
Electronic Transactions Law: 14 cases
In the strongest possible terms, HURFOM condemns the attacks on civilian livelihoods, which have created a climate of fear and intimidation. The junta is deliberately violating democratic norms and principles by extorting local people for information and financial gain. Changing the laws to accommodate their ruthlessness is cowardly and shows signs of weakness, not strength. We call for an immediate end to the junta’s illegitimate oversight and access into civilian lives and property. Laws must be reformed to protect the people – not advance the interests of the regime.
HURFOM’s extensive documentation of crimes against civilians since the coup is evident that no matter how brutal or harsh their policies are, the military cannot break the spirit of the people.
For more information:
Nai Aue Mon, HURFOM Program Director
Signal: +66 86 167 9741