Friday, November 7, 2014

Burma Campaign UK News Update

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Burma Campaign UK News Update  
Journalist killed by Burmese Army

In October, Burmese Army soldiers killed freelance journalist Par Gyi (also known as Aung Kyaw Naing). He was covering the conflict in Mon State, where fighting broke out in September.
The army said that Par Gyi had been shot while trying to escape and claimed he was working for an ethnic armed group. However, this claim has been widely dismissed. Par Gyi is a well-known activist and journalist and worked as a security guard for Aung San Suu Kyi during the 1988 democracy uprising.
As pressure increased for an investigation into his death, his body was exhumed and has been sent for post mortem examination. Witnesses at the exhumation say that there were signs that he had been tortured.
His murder is a shocking reminder of how extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention and torture are still being used against citizens in Burma.
The murder of Par Gyi comes at a time when journalists in Burma are facing increased threats and intimidations. Journalists have been arrested under criminal charges and given long prison sentences, like the Bi Mon Te Nay journalists recently sentenced to two years on prison.
If you haven't taken action to free the Bi Mon Te Nay journalists yet, you can send an email here.

Drop the charges against Andy Hall!

Burma Campaign UK supported a demonstration outside the Thai embassy in London in October to fight for the charges against workers' rights defender Andy Hall to be dropped.
Andy helped expose how a factory in Thailand was committing human rights abuses against migrant workers, including migrants from Burma.

Abuses included child labour, workers being beaten, having documents confiscated, being paid illegally low wages and facing dangerous working conditions.

Instead of the company taking action to stop these abuses, it has launched legal cases for defamation against Andy Hall.
He is facing millions of pounds in fines and up to seven years in a Thai prison, just for exposing human rights abuses in a Thai pineapple factory.
This case is a clear attempt to silence Andy Hall and intimidate all those working to protect migrant workers in Thailand, the majority of whom are from Burma.
The good news is that the first case against Andy was thrown out of court at the end of October. However, he is still facing three other charges.
You can seen photos from the demo and take action here.

UN human rights rapporteur warns of "backtracking" on reforms

The new UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, has warned of "signs of possible backtracking" on reforms and a "shrinking of democratic space".
In her report to the UN General Assembly, she highlighted the continued detention of political prisoners and the use of repressive laws, the ongoing conflict in Kachin and Shan States, religious discrimination and hate speech, serious human rights violations by the Burmese army, including attacks on civilians, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, and torture, and the systematic discrimination and persecution against Rohingya.
Despite the growing human rights abuses in Burma, the British government continues to focus on promoting trade. When questioned in parliament recently, Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire avoided talking about the fact that the number of political prisoners in Burma has more than doubled so far this year. He also avoided answering a question about whether or not he shared concerns expressed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Burma about the backtracking of reforms.
Read our press release here 'Hugo Swire Impersonates Ostrich In British Parliament'

Help Us Continue Our Work

This news update shows just some of the terrible ongoing human rights abuses in Burma, and how Burma Campaign UK is working tirelessly to end them. We won't let the international community forget about human rights, and we will always be holding the British government to account for their policies, and pressuring them to return to putting human rights first.

We rely on donations from supporters like you. Without your support, our work would end. If you can, please consider making a donation.

You can find out more here.
Thank you for your continued support.


Burma Campaign UK


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