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UNION OF MYANMAR: Myanmar: Human rights defenders attacked

20 Apr 2007
Region: UNION OF MYANMAR
Topic: Individual at risk
Amnesty International is concerned by reports of a violent attack onsocial activists in Myanmar, and urges the ruling State Peace andDevelopment Council to ensure an independent, thorough and promptinvestigation is instituted into the incident and that individualsresponsible are held to account.
Maung Maung Lay, 37 and Myint Naing, 40, members of the Human RightsDefenders and Promoters organization, were injured after reportedly beingattacked by more than 50 persons as they left a village in Hinthada,Ayeyarwaddy Division, on the afternoon of 18 April 2007. The pair, who arenow hospitalized with head injuries, were set upon by a crowd after theyhad left the village of Oatpo where they are reported to have conductedactivities to raise awareness about human rights standards.

The pair were attacked as they travelled on a motorcycle from the village.Their attackers reportedly used catapults and beat them with woodensticks. According to reports senior members of the village police andadministration were present, as well as the Secretary of the UnionSolidarity Development Association (USDA), a state sponsored socialorganization. USDA officials have that villagers attacked Myint Naing andMaung Maung Lay, and denied any involvement.

The Human Rights Defenders and Promoters organization is believed to havebeen established in 2006 to carry out human rights education activitiesbased on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Several of its membershave been detained by the authorities since it was established, includingfor distributing copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights inBurmese.

Amnesty International calls on Myanmar authorities to fulfil their duty toinvestigate this violent attack, and to bring those suspected ofresponsibility for the incident to justice in trials consistent withinternational standards for fairness. Redress must be provided to MaungMaung Lay and Myint Naing and they and other witnesses of the incidentmust be protected from intimidation, threats or violence.

Amnesty International further calls on the State Peace and DevelopmentCouncil to guarantee the fundamental right to hold, receive and impartopinions, ideas and information and to protect individuals peacefullyexercising this right from threats, discrimination and any otherpenalties.

AI Index:ASA 16/003/2007
20 April 2007


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