Stop violations of students’ rights in Myanmar

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Students of Sagaing Teacher Training College protest in front of the Department of Higher Education (Upper Burma) in Mandalay - Photograph: Zaw Zaw/The Irrawaddy

The Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (Dema) expresses its disappointment with the arrest of four student protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar.

News portal The Irrawaddy reported that four student union members, namely Ko Zaw Ye Htut, Ko Hnin Aung, Ko Kaung Zaw Hein and Ko Ye Myo Swe, from Sagaing Teachers Training College have protested draconian rules implemented on their campus in front of the Mandalay Department of Higher Education. However, the group of students were arrested and then detained by local police.

Dema believes that the students have their rights to think, speak and express their views and demands freely through non-violence. Dissent is normal and without it, there will be no progress towards democracy. In this case, four students delivered their protest over the banning of mobile phones and the regulation of a strict timetable in a peaceful manner by holding only placards. Yet, they have been treated brutally by the enforcement agency.

On the other hand, respect is one of the duties of the state to realise the principle of human rights. In this case, government officials like the police should not violate human rights. The actions taken by the Myanmar government are clearly against the principles of human rights.

Therefore, we call for the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested students.

The international communities has high expectations for political reforms and democratisation to succeed in Myanmar. Dema is delighted to see that the group of Myanmar students has the courage to stand in the frontline to uphold the principles of human rights.

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This statement is endorsed by the following civil society organisations/student groups:

  1. Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (Dema)
  2. Project Dialog
  3. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit)
  4. Community Development Centre (CDC)
  5. University of Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany)
  6. KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
  7. Women’s Development Organisation of Malaysia, PJ New Town branch
  8. Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM)
  9. Kesatuan Mahasiswa Malaysia
  10. Aliran
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