Paris-Geneva-Bangkok, January 30, 2017 - The Burmese Government must immediately conduct a swift, thorough, and impartial investigation into the murder of Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and member of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party, and bring those responsible for his death to justice, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (an FIDH-OMCT partnership) and the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma) said today.
On January 29, 2017, Ko Ni, 65, was fatally shot in the head at point-blank range outside Rangoon International Airport. The suspected gunman was later arrested and detained for questioning by police. Ko Ni had just returned from Indonesia, where he had joined a Burmese Government-organized trip to discuss democracy and conflict resolution. The program included a panel discussion about religious violence in Burma’s Rakhine State. read more
In this issue: The government attempts to include NCA non-signatory EAOs in the peace conference, Outside the conference, fighting and human rights abuse continue; Tatmadaw rejects UN allegations - UN prepares for fact-finding mission, Aung San Suu Kyi visits Europe and faces critics, Hate speech and violence still on the rise, Burma's notorious Telecommunications Law - more developments; Cyclone Mora destroys thousands of structures; Rumors spread about President Htin Kyaw’s resignation, Parties file an election complaint case against NLD - UEC rules in favor of NLD; Amendments to the Telecommunications Law likely to be discussed as parliamentary session resumes; Burma’s role in China’s “One Belt, One Road” project progresses; Global Witness’ screening of film showing Tatmadaw’s role in jade trade cancelled... much more…
Burma/Myanmar has a legacy of human rights violations linked to foreign investment and land acquisition for business activities, including large-scale development projects. A flawed and outdated legal framework, poor policy coherence, weak governance, rule of law deficiencies, and an exploitative and predatory approach to controlling natural resources have fuelled human rights violations and armed conflict.
Despite a new government, ongoing military control and/or influence over key ministries remains a barrier to land reform. The legal framework for land acquisition violates international standards. Institutionalized impunity and discrimination, a lack of transparency, and corrupt and unregulated industries present a significant risk to local residents, as well as local and foreign investors.
As foreign direct investment increases in Burma, it is crucial that the new National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government tackles land acquisition as a priority policy issue. The current legal and policy framework must be significantly reformed to ensure transparent investment practices and that human rights are respected by businesses operating in the country. Such measures should be conflict-sensitive, clearly address the impact of past abuses and provide concrete means to protect human rights.
This short factsheet summarizes business and human rights concerns in Burma/Myanmar, and highlights the need for reforms before appropriate human rights due diligence can be conducted.