Alert: 7 people are still imprisoned 1 year after crackdown on human rights in Belarus
Myanmar (Burma)
15.09.21
Urgent Interventions

Myanmar: Incommunicado detention of Kyaw Min Htut

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

MMR 005 / 0921 / OBS 096
Incommunicado detention /
Judicial harassment /
At risk of torture
Myanmar
September 15, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Myanmar.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about the incommunicado detention of Kyaw Min Htut, a human rights and environmental activist, member of the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)[1], Myanmar’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)[2], the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade[3] multi-stakeholder group, and a civil society representative on the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee. Kyaw Min Htut has also worked with Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM)[4] and supported pro-democracy activists to non-violently resist the military coup.

On September 6, 2021, at around 3pm, Kyaw Min Htut was arrested by junta security forces, at his uncle’s house in Nandawon Ward, Monywa, Sagaing Region, along with his brother and his uncle. Kyaw Min Htut was detained under Article 50 of the Counter-terrorism Law and accused of providing financial support to unspecified groups the junta classified as “terrorist organisations”.

On September 5, 2021, junta security forces detained and questioned Kyaw Min Htut's wife, Khin Saw Hlaing, and their two-year-old son, at an unknown location. According to a former MATA member, they were arrested in order to force Kyaw Min Htun and his brother to surrender. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, Kyaw Min Htut remained detained in an unknown location and nobody has been able to contact him. No information is available regarding the fate or whereabouts of his relatives.

On August 23, 2021, the police had raided Kyaw Min Htut’s house but were unable to locate him, as he had left his home in February 2021, after the coup.

Kyaw Min Htut was targeted by the military even before the February 2021 coup. In December 2020, he was detained and released on bail after suing a Member of Parliament from the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party over the alleged use of hate speech in the campaign leading up to the November 2020 general election.

The Observatory recalls that, on June 8, 2021, Man Zar Myay Mon, another land and environmental rights defender and member of MATA, was shot in the leg and arrested while he was attempting to flee Shan Htoo Village, Chaung-U Township, in Sagaing, following a raid by security forces. He is now detained in Monywa prison, where he suffered acts of torture.

The Observatory condemns the incommunicado detention of Kyaw Min Htut and expresses grave concern over the high risk of torture, enforced disappearance, and summary execution he is facing while in military custody.

The Observatory urges the military junta to immediately release Kyaw Min Htut and his family members and to guarantee in all circumstances their physical integrity and psychological well-being.

Actions requested:

Please write to the members of the military junta asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Kyaw Min Htut, Man Zar Myay Mon, their relatives, and all human rights defenders in Myanmar, and ensure that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance or fear of reprisals;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Kyaw Min Htut and Man Zar Myay Mon since their detention is arbitrary as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them for their legitimate human rights activities, and reveal the fate and whereabouts of Kyaw Min Htut relatives;

iii. Drop all charges against Kyaw Min Htut, and put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against him, Man Zar Myay Mon, and all human rights defenders in Myanmar.

Addresses:

  • Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Services; Twitter: @CINCDS
  • H.E. Mr. Myint Thu, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland; Email: mission@myanmargeneva.org
  • H.E. Mr. Soe Lynn Han, Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; Email: mebrussels@skynet.be

Please write to international and regional organisations, asking them to:

i. Urge the members of the military junta to immediately and unconditionally release Kyaw Min Htut and his family members, Man Zar Myay Mon, as well as to guarantee their physical integrity and psychological well-being;

ii. Issue public statements condemning the arbitrary detention of Kyaw Min Htut and his family members, Man Zar Myay Mon and, more generally, the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society activists in Myanmar;

iii. Urge the members of the military junta, bilaterally and in multilateral fora, to halt the ongoing crackdown against human rights defenders and civil society, to observe an immediate ceasefire, and respect human rights in Myanmar.

Addresses:

  • Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Twitter: @antonioguterres
  • Ms. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org, Twitter: @mbachelet
  • Ms. Christine Schraner Burgener, United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Myanmar, Twitter: @SchranerBurgen1
  • Mr. Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of the Association of South East Asian Nations, Email: public@asean.org, Twitter: @ASEAN
  • Mr. Josep Borrell, European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Email: cab-borrell-fontelles-contact@ec.europa.eu, Twitter: @JosepBorrellF

Please also write to the diplomatic missions of Myanmar in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, September 15, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18
• Tel OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39

[1] The Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability is a network of over 400 civil society organizations and individuals who work on natural resource governance advocacy across all states and regions of Myanmar. This entails working on extractive governance and promoting transparency and accountability of the exploitation of natural resources and its benefits to the broader public.

[2] The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) implements global standards to promote open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources.

[3] The European Union's Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan is an attempt to use the power of timber-consuming countries to reduce the extent of illegal logging.

[4] The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) was born after the coup of February 1, 2021, to bring together various segments of society to conduct peaceful actions to express opposition to military rule in Myanmar.

Sign up now

Subscribe to our latest news & alerts