One year after the Human Rights Council adopted Resolution 43/26 on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the government’s efforts to suppress dissent continue unabated. In the past year, despite the Council’s recommendation that Myanmar repeal or amend laws that criminalise expression, Myanmar authorities have continued to prosecute journalists, human rights defenders and others who speak critically of the government or military. Myanmar authorities have used the pandemic as a pretext to arrest and prosecute journalists whose reporting contradicts official narratives and to shut down ethnic media outlets reporting on human rights violations in conflict-affected areas.
Despite overtures by Myanmar authorities about the importance of a free and fair election, the Union Election Commission (‘UEC’) issued measures ahead of the November 2020 general election that censored expression critical of the incumbent government and the military.
More than a year after the Myanmar government initiated an Internet shutdown in Rakhine and Chin States, the government continues to restrict 3G and 4G mobile Internet service. The restrictions disproportionately harm vulnerable minorities, impede the reporting of human rights violations, and block the dissemination of crucial public health information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ARTICLE 19 urges the Human Rights Council to adopt a strong resolution calling on the recently reelected National League for Democracy government to prioritise legal reform and to guarantee the right to freedom of expression, access to information, and peaceful assembly in the country.