Rights groups ques­tion ban on peace­ful ral­lies

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page -

Civil so­ci­ety groups are ques­tion­ing a direc­tive is­sued by Yan­gon Re­gion Se­cu­rity and Bor­der Af­fairs Min­is­ter Colonel Aung Soe Moe ban­ning peace­ful as­sem­blies and pro­ces­sions in 11 ma­jor town­ships.

LAWYERS, leg­is­la­tors and civil lib­er­tar­i­ans have ques­tioned a direc­tive is­sued on Tues­day by Yan­gon Re­gion Se­cu­rity and Bor­der Af­fairs Min­is­ter Colonel Aung Soe Moe ban­ning peace­ful as­sem­blies and pro­ces­sions in 11 town­ships.

The or­der was is­sued in the af­ter­math of two in­ter­faith cer­e­monies held in Kyauk­tada and Min­galar Taung Nyunt town­ships in Oc­to­ber and early Novem­ber that caused mas­sive traf­fic jams in the area.

The 11 town­ships where peace­ful as­sem­blies and pro­ces­sions are pro­hib­ited are: Kyauk­tada, Pabe­dan, Latha, Lan­madaw, Bo­tah­taung, Ba­han, San­chaung, Dagon, Ahlone, Min­galar Taung Nyunt and Pazun­daung.

U Thein Than Oo, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Myan­mar In­de­pen­dent Lawyer’s As­so­ci­a­tion, said the peace­ful assem­bly law was en­acted by the par­lia­ment, and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have no au­thor­ity to change it.

“The Peace­ful Assem­bly and Peace­ful Pro­ces­sion Law was en­acted by hlut­taw,” he said. “Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and even the Union gov­ern­ment have no au­thor­ity to amend the law en­acted by hlut­taw. Only hlut­taw has power to do so.”

The direc­tive signed by the re­gional Se­cu­rity and Bor­der Af­fairs min­is­ter on be­half of the re­gional chief min­is­ter said if there are ap­pli­ca­tions for peace­ful assem­bly and peace­ful pro­ces­sion to be held in the 11 town­ships, the town­ship police force shall not grant per­mis­sion as there is a pos­si­bil­ity of pub­lic an­noy­ance and anx­i­ety.

The police were told to in­struct the or­gan­is­ers to hold their ac­tiv­i­ties to a pub­lic cor­ner in Tarmwe town­ship.

“Un­der the na­ture of the law, when it comes to re­ceiv­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for pro­ces­sion, we have no right to re­ject them. But when it comes to ap­pli­ca­tions for protest, the direc­tive said we have to tell them to go to seek per­mis­sion at a pub­lic cor­ner that the gov­ern­ment has of­fi­cially rec­og­nized,” said Min­galar Taung Nyunt town­ship police force chief Police Ma­jor Tin Win.

But U Thein Than Oo, who is also a high court lawyer, said the direc­tive was also a breach of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“For se­cu­rity con­cern, such ban can be im­posed for tem­po­rar­ily, not per­ma­nently. Lo­cal or­der shall not be against par­lia­ment’s law. The law’s rules don’t stip­u­late re­stricted places for hold­ing pro­ces­sion. It can’t change the rules on own de­ci­sion,” he said.

Re­gional MP U Kyaw Kyaw Tun from Hlaing town­ship said he un­der­stands that the re­gional gov­ern­ment is­sued this direc­tive as a lo­cal or­der and he has known that all di­rec­tives are be­ing granted af­ter dis­cus­sion in the re­gional gov­ern­ment meet­ing.

“It shouldn’t be that cit­i­zen rights are be­ing re­stricted by a lo­cal or­der even though Union law al­lows. But it can be used when it is nec­es­sary within time limit,” he said. “There needs to re­view whether the direc­tive has ex­ceeded its au­thor­ity un­der the law. I as­sume that it is the re­gional gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion.” – Toe Wai Aung

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.