Concerns expressed over rights activist’s arrest without charges
Guwahati: Women’s League of Burma (WLB) and Mizzima Media have expressed serious concern over the arrest of Burmese rights defender and journalist Daw Thin Thin Aung, who is a founder member of WLB and Women’s Rights & Welfare Association, along with U James Pu Thoure on 8 April 2021 and demanded their early releases.
WLB, while informing that Thin Thin was taken to the notorious Yay Kyi Eaing investigation centre in Yangon, called on the international community to press the Burmese military regime led by commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing for her release along with other detained activists of Myanmar.
“Since the 1988 uprising, Thin Thin dedicated her life to the fight for democracy and human rights in Burma. She has spent most of her time advocating locally and internationally for justice for women’s human rights and gender equality,” said a WLB statement adding that it was extremely concerned about her safety.
Mizzima media group claimed that both Thin Thin and Pu Thoure are being detained without charges. Moreover, they are not presently engaged with the media group that publishes English and Burmese version of Mizzima newspapers, free-to-air Mizzima TV and a digital daily newspaper.
“We would like to clarify that both of them formally left Mizzima since the military coup took place on 1 February 2021 (toppling the democratically elected government virtually led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi),” stated Soe Myint, the managing director and editor-in-chief of Mizzima News adding that Thin Thin was unwell for some time. She had withdrawn from working for Mizzima even before formally resigning from the group. Thin Thin started her career with the BBC while in exile in Bharat (India) and co-founded Mizzima in 1998 during her stay in New Delhi. She used to work as a director to Mizzima group till the end of 2020, disclosed. Myint.
Meanwhile, a number of Burmese civil society groups condemned Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) for attending the Armed Forces Day recently with allegations that it was against the fundamental principles of neutrality and conflict sensitivity pursued by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“We call on ICRC, IFRC, and other MRCS partners to ensure that its Myanmar counterpart upholds the principles of neutrality, ethical conduct and causes no harm to the founding spirits. MRCS and its partners must be fully committed to their duty to promote and respect international humanitarian laws,” asserted the groups.
In a statement endorsed by over 400 Burma-based organizations also added that MRCS should not legitimize the illegitimate military junta which might lead to a serious loss of confidence among Burmese civil society and the public at large. Those in attendance at the lavish celebrations on 27 March lend much sought-after legitimacy to the brutal military junta.
It is a shameful act of tacit endorsement for a military that has inflicted untold suffering and daily attacks on the common people of Myanmar since the unlawful coup on 1 February last, said the statement adding that within these days, the military regime (popularly known as Tatmadow) has engaged in targeted killings of over 700 people, while 3,000 individuals are currently detained. Tragically, a number of fatalities include at least 47 children, who were killed in deliberate attacks.
Simultaneously, the brutal military regime is continuing its decades-long civil war in the ethnic borderlands of Myanmar. Attending an event celebrating the accomplishments of a military that has perpetrated genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity (including torture, sexual crimes, and destruction of properties) is a display of disloyalty to the efforts of MRCS volunteers and health-workers.
Many vulnerable communities in Myanmar repose faith in the Red Cross symbol as a sign of hope, assistance, and protection, but the recent action of MRCS leadership (while attending the Tatmadow function) has betrayed trust and confidence. The focus of MRCS’s efforts should be concentrated on maximizing the on-the-ground response to the junta’s inhumane and murderous acts.
It is essential for maintaining the independence and neutrality of the Red Cross and Red Crescent that MRCS is not aligned with the military junta, stated the groups adding that at the ongoing crucial time in the Southeast Asian nation, the IFRC, ICRC, and their international partners must alleviate the suffering, and assist the Burmese people and definitely not the murderous military regime in NayPieTaw.