Theatre of the absurd: UN human rights expert on sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi

“State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint are hostages, not criminals,” said UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews.


OHCHR | Washington DC | Updated: 07-12-2021 12:13 IST | Created: 07-12-2021 12:13 IST
Theatre of the absurd: UN human rights expert on sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were jailed on Monday on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A UN human rights expert derided the sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint to four years in jail by a military-controlled court in Myanmar as the "theatre of the absurd", saying the hearing underscored the complete lack of rule of law in the country.

"State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint are hostages, not criminals," said UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews. "This proceeding should not be confused with an actual trial - it is theatre of the absurd and a gross violation of human rights.

"Aung San Suu Kyi, and thousands of others, are being arbitrarily detained in a system of injustice, guilty of only exercising their fundamental rights."

Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were jailed on Monday on charges of incitement and breaching coronavirus restrictions.

"Today's sentencing demonstrates why the international community must take stronger action to support the people of Myanmar by denying the junta the revenue and weapons that they need to continue their illegitimate grip on the people of Myanmar.

"I call upon Member States to significantly increase pressure on the junta as a result of this outrageous action."

The junta's arrest and sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi and thousands of others highlights the relentless assault on the people of Myanmar's right to exercise their civil and political rights, Andrews said.

One of the charges Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint were sentenced under—Section 505(b) of the Penal Code—criminalizes speech that may cause "fear or alarm to the public" or that leads others to upset "public tranquility." Relying on this provision, as well as draconian and illegitimate amendments to other existing laws and regulations, the junta has systematically violated the people of Myanmar's right to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and access to information.

Reports indicate that after the verdict of this sham trial was released, peaceful protesters were executed on the streets of Yangon by junta forces, Andrews said. A military vehicle ran directly into them while exercising their basic right of free speech.

"What more do we need to see from this illegal military junta before the international community takes decisive, principled action?" Andrews asked.

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