On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Introduction to Myanmar
- Used to be known as Burma
- British conquered Burma after three anglo-burmese wars
in the 19th century
- Became an independent, democratic nation in 1948
- Ruled by a military dictatorship following a coup in 1962
- Democratic reforms post-2011 → However, 25% of
legislature seats are reserved for the military
Unfair Political Trials
• Aung San Suu Kyi: House Arrest
• Thousands of unfairly trialed political
Violation of Articles 9,10,11,13
Article 9: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile
Article 10: Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his
rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
a.Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he
has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
b. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or
international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the
penal offence was committed.
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State.
“2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”
Cruel treatment towards monks – 2007 & 2012
2007 - Monks detained, shot, beaten over protests
against military juanta
2012 - Monasteries raided over protests against copper
Violation of Article 18, 19, 20.
• Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes
freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and
in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
• Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom
to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers.
• Article 20: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Sectarian violence/ Discrimination :
• Discrimination against Rohingya Muslims
• Burma citizenship law 1982- almost impossible for the
Rohingya to gain citizenship
• Stripped of rights
• Sectarian violence since 2012-now
Violation of Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 15- (13,17, 21, 26)
• Article 1: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are
endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit
• Article 2: Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration,
without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or
international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it
be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
• Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
• Article 7: All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to
equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any
discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such
Violation of Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 15- (13,17,21,26)
• Article 15: (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily
deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality
Result of Burma citizenship law:
• Article 13: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the
borders of each state.
• Article 17: (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with
others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
• Article 21: (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or
through freely chosen representatives.(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public
service in his country.
• Article 26: (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the
elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and
professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally
accessible to all on the basis of merit.
Violation of Articles 19 & 20 (Freedom of
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
No one may be compelled to belong to an association
Violation of Article 19 & 20: Freedom of Speech
➢ Draft associations law → Permit excessive government
control over civil society groups, hindering freedom of
speech and association at the expense of Myanmar’s
reform and development.
➢ Would require all non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) to register, and failure to do so would result in
Violation of Article 19 & 20: Freedom of
➢ Central Committee which has authority to reject and accept NGO
registrations, and terminate existing groups → Chaired by minister of
home affairs, a senior serving military officer → Impartiality of
committee on matters of NGO registrations questioned
➢ Registration of any domestic or international NGO is only valid for
five years, and organisations must re-register to continue functioning
→ Provides an opportunity for the Central Committee to retaliate
against a group that has advocated against or criticised government
Violation of Article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just
and favourable conditions of work and to protection against
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable
remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of
human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the
protection of his interests.
Violation of Article 23
• The Burmese military routinely forces civilians to work on state infrastructure
projects, such as the building of roads, bridges, military bases or even towns.
• The military will typically demand labour from local villages, with the threat of
fines if households are unable to supply the required amount of people.
• Use of villagers as human minesweepers to clear the way for the safe passage of
• Military personnel operate under blanket impunity, and know that they will not
be held accountable for any mistreatment of civilians.
• Threats, harassment, beatings and even killings are not uncommon, and
women risk rape and other sexual abuses.
• Forced labour often means that villagers are unable to work on their own
agricultural work for days or even weeks on end.
What was the intended purpose of the
• have a universal understanding and
acceptance of the rights we are entitled to
ensure that human rights are protected
to ensure peace in the world
How effective has it been in achieving its
• Lack of awareness
• No consequences for breaking the UDHR
• Failure of security council
• Appearance vs Reality
Where do we go from here with the UDHR
• Enforce the UDHR more stringently
• Raise awareness of the UDHR
• Remove the veto power of each the five
countries in the security council --> Allow
UN to make decisions based on a majority
WHo’s responsible for ensuring that an individual is given his right
• Individual (Society)