Myanmar – Student human rights defender Po Po arrested and facing charge (Front Line Defenders)

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    Student activist Po Po spent the night of Thursday, 8 April 2015, in a Kamayut Township jail. The 20-year-old human rights defender was arrested that day from her home, less than a month after a Kamayut Township Judge issued an arrest warrant for Po Po and fellow student activists Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko. – See more at: https://humanrightsinasean.info/#sthash.TcgXn8qq.dpuf

    Posted 2015/4/10

    Student activist Po Po spent the night of Thursday, 8 April 2015, in a Kamayut Township jail. The 20-year-old human rights defender was arrested that day from her home, less than a month after a Kamayut Township Judge issued an arrest warrant for Po Po and fellow student activists Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko.

    Myat Thuya and Kyaw Ko Ko remain free despite the pending warrant, but Nanda Sitt Aung was arrested a few days before Po Po, who has since been remanded to Insein Prison.

    Po Po is a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU). Since November 2014, student organizations like ABFSU have been protesting against the National Education Bill, which activists and independent experts claim restricts academic freedom. Enacted by Parliament on 30 September 2014, the National Education Law was intended to reform the country’s education system, but opponents claim the government did not seek adequate student input in its formation. According to local news outlet the Myanmar Times:

    [Protestors and student unions] have also highlighted that [under the new law] ethnic languages, cultures and literatures will not be allowed to feature on any university syllabus. But most importantly, they say, the law means private universities will remain under the control of the education ministry and that both teacher and student unions will remain technically illegal.

    A number of organisations, including ABFSU, presented a list of ten demands to the Parliament for an amended statute, which include the adoption of ethnic languages in school curricula and the right to form student and teacher unions.

    Po Po was involved in the peaceful student protest in Letpadan on 10 March 2015, but escaped the violent police response to the movement, which resulted in the arrest of approximately 126 students. Along with Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko, Po Po went on to lead a protest in Yangon demanding the release of all students detained.

    She is due to be arraigned on 10 April 2015, along with Nanda Sitt Aung, at the Kamayut Township Courthouse under articles 143, 145, 147 and 505(b) of the Penal Code. The charges against the pair are set to include participation in an unlawful assembly and rioting. The alleged offences carry penalties of up to three years in prison.

    Front Line Defenders expresses its grave concern at the detention of human rights defenders Po Po and Nanda Sitt Aung, which it believes to be solely the result of their human rights work, and the continued suppression of the right to peaceful assembly within Myanmar.

    Source : www.frontlinedefenders.org

    Objective

    1. Immediately drop all legal proceedings against Po Po, Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko as it is believed that they are solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights, and unconditionally release Po Po and Nanda Sitt Aung.
    2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Myanmar are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

    Target Institution

    U Thein Sein
    President of Myanmar

    President Office
    Office No.18
    Naypyitaw
    Myanmar
    Tel: + 95 1 372 681

    How to Support The Campaign

    Please take action on human rights defenders in the Myanmar.
    Please copy the letter and forward it to the address provided.
    Thank you for taking action on behalf of human rights defenders at risk.

    Letter:

    On 8 April 2015, human rights defender and student activist Ms Po Po was arrested at her home. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the 20 year old student, along with fellow student activists Ms Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko, by a Kamayut Township Judge on 11 March 2015. Po Po spent the night of her arrest in a Kamayut Township jail, and has since been remanded to Insein Prison. Nanda Sitt Aung was arrested a few days previously, while Myat Thuya and Kyaw Ko Ko remain free despite the pending warrant.

    Student organisations, such as the All Burma Federation of Student Union (ABFSU), of which Po Po is a member, have been heavily involved in protests since November 2014 against the National Education Bill, enacted by Parliament on 30 September 2014. Student activists and independent experts have been highly critical of the law, which they claim restricts academic freedom. The ABFSU was one of a number of organisations that presented a list of ten demands to the Parliament for an amended statute, which include the adoption of ethnic languages in school curricula and the right to form student and teacher unions.

    Po Po was involved in the peaceful student protest in Letpadan on 10 March 2015, but escaped the violent police response to the movement, which resulted in the arrest of approximately 126 students. Along with Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko, Po Po led a protest in Yangon demanding the release of all students detained. She is due to be arraigned on 10 April 2015, along with Nanda Sitt Aung, at the Kamayut Township Courthouse under articles 143, 145, 147 and 505(b) of the Penal Code. The charges against the pair are set to include participation in an unlawful assembly and rioting. The alleged offences carry penalties of up to three years in prison. Mr President:

    I express my grave concern at the detention of human rights defenders Po Po and Nanda Sitt Aung, which I believe to be solely the result of their human rights work, and the continued suppression of the right to peaceful assembly within Myanmar.

    I urge the authorities in Myanmar to:

    1. Immediately drop all legal proceedings against Po Po, Myat Thuya, Nanda Sitt Aung and Kyaw Ko Ko as it is believed that they are solely motivated by their legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights, and unconditionally release Po Po and Nanda Sitt Aung.
    2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Myanmar are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

    Sincerely,

    ______________________________