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Association and Assembly

  • Laws, decrees, bills and regulations relating to association and assembly (commentaries)

    Individual Documents

    Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Law being misused to prosecute peaceful protestors
    Date of publication: 21 April 2015
    Description/subject: "The Asian Human Rights Commission has documented that an increasing number of peaceful protesters are being arrested and jailed under the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act. Citing the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the country, and ensuring the upcoming 2015 election remain peaceful, authorities, especially Administrative Officers, have filed cases against numerous peaceful protesters under this Act. The Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act was enacted in December 2011 and the regulations relating to the law passed in July 2012. In a statement issued on 24 September 2013, the AHRC had noted: “… contrary to its title and as proven in practices over the last two years, far from enabling the exercise of rights to assemble and demonstrate the law does precisely the opposite by requiring people to request permission for events from local police stations, who can arbitrarily approve or decline such assemblies as they see fit. The section is quickly becoming notorious as more and more people who are declined permits to rally-without rhyme or reason-and then do so nonetheless are prosecuted.” In June 2014 the law was amended; however, no regulations to the amended law have been passed to date. This has led to another layer of difficulty for peaceful protesters seeking to exercise their constitutional rights, and given the authorities greater possibilities for misuse..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asia Human Rights Commission
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 24 April 2015

    Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Government does not recognise detained students from UDE as students
    Date of publication: 08 April 2015
    Description/subject: "...It is the right of the students who are now under detention to seek and obtain bail. Even if the government may claim that those under detention are not students, these individuals were only participating in peaceful protest, which is the right of every Burmese citizen. So, whether those in detention now are students or not, it is the responsibly of the court to recognise their constitutional rights and, at the very least, release them on bail. Any further detention of the students will curtail their prospect of further education, for which they have worked hard; it will destroy their future. Perhaps, this is what the government wishes for those that it has kept under detention. The AHRC strongly condemns the government actions and calls upon the government of Burma to release the students unconditionally. The AHRC also calls upon the international community to work closely with the government of Burma and ensure that the students are released. The AHRC further urges the governments to withdraw sections of the National Education Law against which the students have been protesting."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asia Human Rights Commission
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 24 April 2015

    Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Student protesters and their supporters denied legal and medical assistance in Tharawaddy Prison
    Date of publication: 24 March 2015
    Description/subject: "Students and their supporters detained in Tharawaddy Prison continue to be denied access to lawyers. In addition, the authorities have refused medical assistance for the detainees that are injured. Thus, the government continues its persecution of the Burmese students who have taken a stand against the government’s plan with respect to education. The background to this is that students from all over Burma have denounced and demanded amendment to the National Education Law, which was passed last year on 30 September 2014. Burmese students boycotted the law and protested for four days in Yangon on 14 November 2014. They gave 60 days to the government to reconsider the law and respond to their request. However, when the government provided no response, students commenced a protest march from Mandalay to Yangon, a distance of 359 miles. This student protest march was stopped in Letpadan Township on 3 March 2015, and it is here that the police brutally cracked down on the students. On 10 March, students and their supporters were subjected to police violence; the police used unjustified force; students and their supporters were beaten with batons and arrested. Officially, 127 individuals were arrested the same day and placed in Tharawaddy Prison; of these, 27 were released from the Prison without charge on 12 and 13 March. Two days later, some of the detainees were brought before the court to get remand, but none were allowed to meet family or lawyers..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Amyotha Hluttaw via "The Global New Light of Myanmar"
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 24 April 2015

    Title: Midnight Intrusions - Summary & Recommendations ညဥ္႕နက္သန္းေခါင္ခ်င္းနင္း၀င္ေရာက္ျခင္းမ်ား ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္ ဧည္႔စာရင္
    Date of publication: 19 March 2015
    Description/subject: အက်ဥ္းခ်ဳပ္ ၂၀၁၁ ခုႏွစ္တြင္ ဦးသိန္းစိန္ သမၼတျဖစ္လာၿပီးေနာက္၊ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံ၏ ႏိုင္ငံေရးႏွင့္ စီးပြားေရး ျပဳျပင္ေျပာင္းလဲမႈမ်ားသည္ ႏိုင္ငံ၏အနာဂတ္အတြက္ ႀကီးမားေသာလြတ္လပ္မႈမ်ား မႀကံဳစဖူးေသာ အေကာင္းျမင္မႈမ်ားသို႔ ဦးတည္ခဲ့ပါသည္။ သို႔ရာတြင္ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတစ္၀န္းရွိ လူ႔အသိုုက္အ၀န္းမ်ားတြင္၊ အာဏာပိုင္မ်ားသည္ ဖိႏွိပ္ေသာဥပေဒမ်ားကို ဆက္လက္က်င္႔သံုးေနၿပီး၊ ယခင္စစ္အစိုးရမ်ား လက္ထက္တြင္ က်င့္သံုးေနက်ကိုသာ ဆက္လက္အသံုးခ်လ်က္ ရွိပါသည္။ ၿမိဳ႕ျပႏွင့္ ေက်းလက္ေတာနယ္၊ ျမန္မာဗုဒၶဘာသာႏွင့္ လူနည္းစုမ်ား၊ ခ်မ္းသာသူႏွင့္ ဆင္းရဲသူ အပါအ၀င္ ျဖစ္ေသာ ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံတြင္ ေနထိုင္သူအားလံုးသည္ ၂၀၁၂ ခုႏွစ္ ရပ္ကြက္ သို႔မဟုတ္ ေက်းရြာအုပ္စု အုပ္ ခ်ဳပ္ေရးဥပေဒ အရ ညဥ္႕အိပ္ညဥ္႕ေန အိမ္တြင္တည္းခိုသူမ်ားကို ရပ္ကြက္ သို႔မဟုတ္ ေက်းရြာအုပ္စု အုပ္ ခ်ဳပ္ေရးမွဴးအျဖစ္ တာ၀န္ထမ္းေဆာင္ေနေသာ အစိုးရအရာရွိမ်ားထံ တိုင္ၾကားရန္လိုအပ္ပါသည္။ စင္စစ္ အားျဖင့္ ေဒသခံမ်ားသည္ ညဥ္႕အိပ္ညဥ္႕ေနတည္းခိုမည္႕သူမ်ားကို လက္ခံႏိုင္ရန္ ႏိုင္ငံေတာ္မွ ခြင့္ျပဳခ်က္ ရယူရန္လိုအပ္ပါသည္၊ အာဏာပိုင္မ်ားကလည္း အေၾကာင္းမ်ိဳးစံုျပၿပီး ျငင္းပယ္ႏိုင္ေၾကာင္းသိရွိရပါသည္။ ျမန္မာအာဏာပိုင္မ်ားသည္ မၾကာခဏႏွင့္ ပံုမွန္ဆိုသလို အိမ္ေထာင္စုမ်ားကိုစစ္ေဆးျခင္းျဖင္႔ တည္း ခိုသူမ်ားကိုတိုင္ၾကားရန္လိုအပ္ခ်က္ကို လိုက္နာေၾကာင္း ေသခ်ာေစပါသည္။ ရပ္ကြက္ သို႔မဟုတ္ ေက်းရြာအုပ္စု အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးဥပေဒသည္ အရာရွိမ်ားအား ပုဂၢလိကေနအိမ္မ်ားကို ၀င္ေရာက္ရန္ႏွင့္ “တရား ဥပေဒစိုးမိုးေရးႏွင့္ စည္းကမ္းထိန္းသိမ္းေရးအတြက္ စစ္ေဆးရန္လိုအပ္ေသာေနရာမ်ားကို အခါအား ေလ်ာ္စြာစစ္ေဆးရန္” အကန္႔အသတ္မရွိ အခြင့္အာဏာေပးထားပါသည္။ ဤျပဌာန္းခ်က္က ခြင့္ျပဳထား ေသာ အခြင့္အာဏာအရ ရပ္ကြက္ႏွင့္ ေက်းရြာအုပ္စု အုပ္ခ်ဳပ္ေရးမွဴးမ်ားသည္ ထံုးစံအတိုင္း ဤစစ္ေဆးမႈ မ်ားကို ညဥ္႕နက္ေသာ အခါက်မွ ရဲ သို႔မဟုတ္ ေထာက္လွမ္းေရးအရာရွိမ်ား၊ အျခားသူမ်ားႏွင့္အတူ ဧည္႔စာရင္းတိုင္ၾကားျခင္းမရွိေသာ ဧည္႔သည္မ်ားရွိ မရွိကို စစ္ေဆးရန္အေၾကာင္းျပ၍ ျပဳလုပ္ၾကပါသည္။ ဤခ်င္းနင္း၀င္ေရာက္ျခင္းမ်ားျပဳလုပ္သည္႔ အခ်ိန္ကိုေထာက္ရႈ၍ ေဒသခံမ်ားသည္ ထိုအေလ့အက်င့္ကို “ညဥ္႕နက္ သန္းေခါင္စစ္ေဆးမႈမ်ား” ဟုရည္ညႊန္းေျပာဆိုၾကပါသည္
    Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Fortify Rights
    Format/size: pdf (962K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/FR-2015-03-Midnight_Intrusions-summary-bu.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 19 March 2015

    Title: MIDNIGHT INTRUSIONS - Ending Guest Registration and Household Inspections in Myanmar (English)
    Date of publication: 19 March 2014
    Description/subject: SUMMARY: "Since President Thein Sein came to power in 2011, political and economic reforms in Myanmar have led to greater freedoms and unprecedented optimism for the country’s future. However, in communities throughout Myanmar, authorities continue to apply repressive laws and employ practices common under previous military regimes. The Ward or Village Tract Administration Law requires all residents of Myanmar—urban and rural, Burman Buddhists and minorities, rich and poor—to report the identity of overnight houseguests to government officials serving as ward or village tract administrators. In effect, residents need permission from the state to host overnight guests—and authorities are known to deny guest registration for a variety of reasons. Myanmar authorities ensure compliance with the guest registration requirement by conducting periodic household inspections. The Ward or Village Tract Administration Law empowers officials to inspect “the places needed to examine for prevalence of law and order and upholding the discipline [sic] ,” effectively giving them unfettered authority to enter private residences. Under the authority granted by this provision, ward or village tract administrators typically carry out household inspections late at night with police or intelligence officers and others, ostensibly to determine if unregistered guests are present. Given the timing of these intrusions, many residents refer to the practice as “midnight inspections”. Additionally, individuals who lack adequate documentation or citizenship status in Myanmar face challenges hosting or staying as overnight guests. For example, individuals who are unable to obtain household registration documents are typically required to regularly report themselves to the state as guests in their own homes, often on a weekly basis. The provisions of the Ward or Village Tract Administration Law related to the guest registration requirement and its enforcement impinge on various human rights, including the right to privacy and rights to freedom of movement, residency, and association. The guest registration requirement represents a systematic and nationwide breach of privacy, giving the government access to troves of personal data from communities across the country. Evidence collected by Fortify Rights also suggests that the law is particularly enforced against low-income communities, individuals working with civil society organizations, and political activists..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Fortify Rights
    Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-reduced version; 1.24MB-original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.fortifyrights.org/downloads/FR_Midnight_Intrusions_March_2015.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 19 March 2015

    Title: BURMA: Police torture of gay and transgendered people
    Date of publication: 22 July 2013
    Description/subject: "The Asian Human Rights Commission has been following with concern news of the police targeting of gay and transgendered people in Burma, or Myanmar, and has recently obtained detailed information on a number of cases of alleged arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of persons on the grounds of sexual orientation. The AHRC is troubled both by the manner in which this minority group appears to have been deliberately targeted by the police, and by the implications of these police abuses not only for the rights of minorities in democratizing Burma, but also for the rights of all people living there. According to recent news reports, police in Mandalay have been conducting an operation against gay and transgendered people who have been congregating in certain public places in the city. Although the police claim that they are simply removing from certain areas anyone found to be causing a disturbance to the public, from all accounts it is clear that they have been specifically targeting gay and transgendered people..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 22 July 2013

    Date of publication: 21 January 2013
    Description/subject: "This special dossier of 36 cases brought under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act against people accused of contact with the Kachin Independence Army was researched and compiled in 2012 by independent human rights defenders in Burma who have requested that the Asian Human Rights Commission disseminate the material...At a time that the conflict in Kachin State between the Kachin Independence Army and Burma armed forces is only getting worse, this dossier marks an important contribution to documentation on human rights abuses in the region, because it signals very sharply the intersection between war and law, between violence in armed combat and violence in interrogation, in the use of torture and other techniques against persons who have been branded enemies of the state...the human rights defenders who gathered and translated this material have two stated objectives: to document and inform people about the use of the Unlawful Associations Act; and, to secure the release of the accused. Both of these objectives are laudable, and strongly supported by the AHRC. Clearly, not enough has been done to document cases of this sort in a way that makes explicit the connection between strategic practices of the military and those of other parts of the state apparatus for the targeting of internal enemies. We firmly hope that by taking these steps, not only will the connections be better understood but also those whose cases are documented will obtain relief through some publicity and attention to their specific plights..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) & Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC)
    Format/size: pdf (2.7MB-OBL version; 3.46-original)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/burma/reports/Unlawful_Association_Dossier.pdf/view
    Date of entry/update: 21 January 2013

    Title: Thein Sein Repeals Repressive Law on Public Speeches
    Date of publication: 16 January 2013
    Description/subject: "Burmese President Thein has repealed a draconian law that was used to stifle public speeches and sentence dissidents to lengthy spells in prison under the previous military regime, according to an announcement in a state-owned newspaper on Wednesday. The Burmese-language version of The New Light of Myanmar carried an announcement signed by President Thein Sein, which stated he had revoked Law 5/96, or the Law Protecting the Peaceful and Systematic Transfer of State Responsibility and the Successful Performance of the Functions of the National Convention against Disturbances and Oppositions. It provided for up to 20 years imprisonment for anyone who criticizes the government in speeches or written statements that “belittle the National Convention” and make people misunderstand its proceedings..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy"
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 19 January 2013

    Title: Myanmar: The Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession 2012 - Legal Analysis (English and Burmese)
    Date of publication: 20 September 2012
    Description/subject: Executive Summary and Recommendations: In July 2012, "ARTICLE 19 analysed the Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession of Myanmar, adopted by the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 5 July 2012. The provisions of the Decree were examined for their compliance with international standards on human rights. Myanmar has neither signed nor ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or other principal human rights treaties. Nevertheless, ARTICLE 19 suggests that guarantees to the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as provided by Article 364 of the Constitution of Myanmar, allow a wide scope for interpretation and that international standards regarding these rights should provide guidance to such an interpretation. In the analysis, ARTICLE 19 appreciates the Decree’s recognition of the state duty to protect assembly participants. However, the requirement for permission to hold an assembly, the grounds for denying permission, the lack of a court appeal and the absence of guarantees for media access to assemblies are problematic and must be urgently revised. ARTICLE 19 also calls on the Government of Myanmar – in consultation with civil society - to review other legislative measures in light of international standards and to make them compliant with these standards. Recommendations ARTICLE 19 calls on the Government of Myanmar: • To sign and ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; • To invite the UN special rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association and the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression to visit Myanmar; • To ensure that the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression are safeguarded in line with international standards; • To revise the Decree on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession in accordance with international standards on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as recommended by ARTICLE 19; • To initiate public discussion about the current legal framework on peaceful assemblies and engage in consultation with civil society representatives on how to improve the relevant legislation. ARTICLE 19 calls on civil society in Myanmar: • To engage in public debates and consultation with the government on how to improve the domestic legislation on peaceful assembly; • To form coalitions between civil society organisations and launch public education campaigns on the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression; • To draft legislative proposals and advocate for specific changes in domestic legislation aiming at the improvement of the protection of the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression; • To seek partnerships with international organisations in a specific mandate on the right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly."
    Language: English, Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
    Source/publisher: Article 19
    Format/size: pdf (346K-English; 6.54MB-Burmese))
    Alternate URLs: http://www.article19.org/data/files/medialibrary/3440/12-09-19-LA-Myanmar-BU.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 24 September 2012

    Title: Burma: New Law on Demonstrations Falls Short
    Date of publication: 15 March 2012
    Description/subject: "...Legal Reforms Should Meet International Human Rights Standards ...Burma’s new law on assembly rejects the previous ban on demonstrations, but still allows the government to trump the Burmese people’s basic rights. There is a lot of excitement about changes in Burma these days, but the government shouldn’t be given credit for allowing some freedom just because none existed before. Instead, it should be pressed to make sure its laws meet international standards..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 17 March 2012

    Title: Reading between the lines of criminalized assembly in Myanmar
    Date of publication: 10 December 2011
    Description/subject: "All public assemblies that power holders have not themselves organized or endorsed pose them some kind of political challenge. In a democratic system, unauthorized public assemblies are part of the political process. The ruling group is obliged to accommodate such assemblies and not resort to needlessly coercive methods in dealing with them. The political symbolism of an authoritarian system, by contrast, carries with it, as James Scott has written, an implicit assumption that subordinates gather only when they are authorized to do so from above.1 Where subordinates defy this assumption, they threaten the political order, and risk juridical sanction. The British authoritarian regime in its Asian colonies assigned public assembly an inherently criminal quality. A full chapter of the Indian Penal Code, which it brought with it to Burma, sets out offences against public tranquillity and their punishments. The terms used in the code evoke the innate criminality of unauthorized gatherings: “criminal force”, “rioting”, “affray”. The colonial-era police and courts read between these lines so as to enable liberal use of violence. Police and magistrates responded to unauthorized assembly under cover of the empire’s criminal codes with lathi charges and rifle fire. When they failed to keep things under control, behind them came the army. And so, a template was set for what historian Mary Callahan has described as the “coercion-intensive” state in Burma.2 1 James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1990) 61. 2 Mary P. Callahan, "State Formation in the Shadow of the Raj: Violence, Warfare and Politics in Colonial Burma," Southeast Asian Studies 39.4 (2002): 521. 2 But the colonial template has, as the years have passed, become less and less familiar. Whereas the coercive parts of the criminal juridical apparatus in Burma, now officially Myanmar, have expanded in size and strength under successive military or military-established governments, the authority of the courts has greatly diminished. Whereas the criminal codes have remained in force, the manner of their application has changed markedly. And meanwhile, other ill-defined elements that were not part of the original template have also entered the mix. In this paper, I briefly explore the shifting character of the containment and criminalizing of unauthorized assembly in Myanmar through a case study of the juridical and extrajuridical response to large-scale protests in 2007. I argue that the criminalizing of unauthorized assembly and its participants was, compared to earlier periods, highly ambiguous, because the juridical and extrajuridical elements of the response were throughout purposefully intervowen. The ambiguity was, I think, paradigmatic of how power has in recent years been exercised through the criminal juridical system of Myanmar, such that today we can only talk of the juridical and extrajudicial in the singular, as a composite of practices rather than two contrasting sets of practices..."
    Author/creator: Nick Cheesman
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: “Southeast Asia: Between the Lines”, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 9-10 December 2011
    Format/size: pdf (616K)
    Date of entry/update: 18 August 2014