Burma/Myanmar: Arbitrary arrest of the leader of the Myanmar Farmers Union Ms. Su Su Nway

14/12/2015
Urgent Appeal

MMR 004 / 0715 / OBS 061.2
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment
Burma / Myanmar
December 14, 2015

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Burma / Myanmar.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest of the leader of the Myanmar Farmers Union Ms. Su Su Nway.

According to the information received, on December 8, 2015, Su Su Nway appeared before a court in Pyin Oo Lwin Township, Mandalay Division, to face charges under Article 18 of the Act on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession for organising an unauthorised protest against land confiscation in mid-2014.

Police arrested Ms. Su Su Nway on December 6, 2015, at around 4:30 pm, after participating in a human rights workshop for local farmers at Pyin Oo Lwin Eden Hotel. She was then taken to the Pyin Oo Lwin Myoma police station.

Eight farmers who took part in the 2014 protest were also charged under Article 18 of the Act on the Right to Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession. However, Ms. Su Su Nway is the only one to remain in custody.

The Observatory condemns the new arrest, judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of Ms. Su Su Nway, which seem merely aimed at sanctioning her peaceful human rights activities, and calls upon the Burmese authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally.

Background information:

In early June 2015, police in Intagaw, Pegu Township, Pegu Division, informed Ms. Su Su Nway that a local Army commander, Captain Hein Zaw, had filed charges against her for trespassing. She had refused to answer the charge.

On July 23, 2015, police in Intagaw arrested Ms. Su Su Nway after she had met with farmers seeking the return of land that the military had confiscated from them in Nyaunglebin Township in 2003. Ms. Su Su Nway was on her way back to Rangoon when she was arrested.

The same day, a court in Pegu Division charged Ms. Su Su Nway under Article 447 of the Criminal Code (trespassing) and sent her to Pegu Prison. Ms. Su Su Nway denied the charges and turned down bail, which had been granted by the court.

On August 17, 2015, Ms. Su Su Nway was released from Pegu Prison, Pegu Division, on time served.

Ms. Su Su Nway had previously been detained on various occasions between 2005 and 2007. She was eventually released along with hundreds of other political prisoners during a presidential amnesty allowed on October 12, 2011.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Burmese authorities, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Su Su Nway, and all human rights defenders in Burma;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Ms. Su Su Nway since her detention is arbitrary and only aimed at sanctioning her human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to acts of any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Ms. Su Su Nway and all human rights defenders in Burma;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its:

- Article 1, which stipulates that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”;
- Article 12.1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”;
- Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and ratify international and regional human rights instruments.

Addresses:

• U Thein Sein, President of Myanmar, President Office, Office No.18, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR
• Lt Gen Ko Ko, Minister for Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office No. 10, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR
• U Win Mra, Chairman of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, 27 Pyay Road, Hline Township, Yangon, Republic of the Union of Myanmar; Email: chmyanmarnhrc@gmail.com
• Dr. Tun Shin, Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Office No. 25, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR; Email: ago.h.o@mptmail.net.mm
• U Tun Tun Oo, Chief Justice, Office of the Supreme Court, Office No. 24, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR; Email: scunion@mptmail.net.mm
• Maj Gen Zaw Win, Director General, Myanmar Police Force, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office No. 10, Naypyitaw, MYANMAR
• H.E. Mr. Maung Wai, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Avenue Blanc 47, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 732 89 19, +41 22 732 73 77, Email: mission@myanmargeneva.org
• Embassy of Myanmar in Brussels, Boulevard Général Wahis 9, 1030 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 (0)32 2 705 50 48, Email: mebrussels@skynet.be

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Burma in your respective countries.

Paris-Geneva, December 14, 2015

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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