Hate speech draft to head to par­lia­ment

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

The sec­ond draft of the Hate Speech Law has been sub­mit­ted to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice for re­view be­fore be­ing sent to the hlut­taw.

THE sec­ond draft of the Hate Speech Law has been com­pleted and will be sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment soon, the Ministry of Cul­ture and Re­li­gious Af­fairs said yes­ter­day.

The an­nounce­ment was made yes­ter­day by Union Min­is­ter Thura U Aung Ko dur­ing a meet­ing in Nay Pyi Taw be­tween United Na­tions Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon and re­li­gious lead­ers rep­re­sent­ing a va­ri­ety of faiths.

Ministry spokesper­son U Aung San Win told The Myan­mar Times that the draft has been sub­mit­ted to the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice, which will make rec­om­men­da­tions be­fore it is handed over to par­lia­ment.

“The law will be sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment be­fore 2017, but I can’t say the ex­act date,” he said.

Yes­ter­day’s in­ter­faith meet­ing was at­tended by lead­ers from six re­li­gions, in­clud­ing two rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Bud­dhist com­mu­nity, three from the Mus­lim com­mu­nity, three from the Chris­tian com­mu­nity and two from the Hindu com­mu­nity. Baha’i and Jewish rep­re­sen­ta­tives also at­tended.

U Aye Lwin, who rep­re­sented Mus­lims, said he has not seen the draft law but be­lieved hate speech would dis­ap­pear af­ter it was en­acted.

“Our coun­try needs the Hate Speech Law. I be­lieve it can help re­solve is­sues with hate speech di­rected at Is­lam,” he said. “Mr Ban Ki-moon did not talk specif­i­cally about the law [dur­ing the meet­ing], but he did say there should be no more hate speech in Myan­mar – es­pe­cially re­li­gious hate speech.”

U Hla Tun, one of the rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Hindu com­mu­nity, said he be­lieved the law would help re­duce at­tacks be­tween dif­fer­ent re­li­gions and races, and should be en­acted as soon as pos­si­ble.

“Maybe 50 per­cent of the hate speech on Face­book will be elim­i­nated as a re­sult of this law,” he said. “It is good for our coun­try, so the law should be en­acted.”

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