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The following persons elected in the parliamentary elections of 1990

(i) Died in custody or soon after their release:

(ii) Were assassinated:

Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 192nd session
(Quito, 27 March 2013)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of the above-mentioned former members-elect of the Pyithu Hluttaw (People’s Assembly) of the Union of Myanmar, all voted into office in the elections of May 1990, and to the resolution it adopted at its 190th session (October 2012),

Taking into account the letter from the Director General of the Parliament Office, dated 15 March 2013, and the information collected by the IPU Secretary General during his visit to Myanmar on 18 February 2013,

Recalling its long-standing examination of the cases of the former members-elect of the Pyithu Hluttaw and its earlier concerns about violations of their human rights, including undue restrictions on political activity, detention without charge and imprisonment as a result of summary trials,

Recalling that the President of Myanmar amnestied over 600 prisoners in January 2012, including the last five former parliamentarians-elect, so as to “enable them to participate in the political process”; also recalling that, on 11 October 2011, more than 6,000 people had already been released under a previous amnesty, including three former members-elect,

Considering that these releases should be seen as one of an increasing number of steps taken in the past two years by the civilian authorities to foster political dialogue and reform; recalling in this regard the observations of the IPU on-site mission that visited Myanmar from 5 to 9 March 2012 to raise, among other things, outstanding human rights concerns: all the officials encountered expressed the view that the reform process under way in Myanmar was irreversible and that steps were being taken to promote human rights,

Considering that, with respect to the IPU’s earlier concerns in the case, the letter from the Director General of the Parliament Office states that parliament has obtained the following response from the Ministry of Home Affairs:

  • 87 former parliamentarians had been tried in court for having violated various laws and had had to serve the prison terms handed down by the courts;

  • All these persons have been released by Presidential Order of the new Government on humanitarian grounds;

  • Parliament is in the process of amending and repealing laws that do not serve the purpose of reform;

  • Parliament was taking steps, with the help of international and national organizations, to improve prison administration procedures and was examining a new Prison Bill;

  • Parliament and the government were earnestly collaborating to improve general conditions in the country and for the people and were making steady progress towards that end,
Considering that, in his letter, the Director General of the Parliament Office also states that parliament is willing to do whatever it can under the Constitution to address any pending human rights matters of concern to the IPU,

Considering the following: the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar concludes in his report (A/HRC/22/58) of 6 March 2013 that “continuing reforms in Myanmar are resulting in ongoing improvements to the human rights situation. Important changes have taken place, such as legislative reform, but sometimes not to the point where international human rights standards are met”; the report notes the important and evolving role of Myanmar’s parliamentary committees and that the Bills Committees of the Upper and Lower Houses are constitutionally mandated to vet draft legislation and report their findings to the joint session of parliament; it mentions that both Houses also have committees that deal with the fundamental rights outlined in chapter VIII of the Constitution; the Special Rapporteur encourages one of these committees to act as the focal point for ensuring that all new legislation is vetted and therefore in line with Myanmar’s international human rights obligations; the report states that following his meeting with the Attorney General, the Special Rapporteur was encouraged to learn that relevant ministries, the Attorney General’s Office and parliament were considering reforms to a number of laws he had previously highlighted as not being in line with international human rights standards (see A/67/383); the Special Rapporteur reiterates his recommendation that target dates be set for the conclusion of the review, and urges that proper attention be paid to ensuring the amendments successfully bring the laws into line with international human rights standards,

Considering that, in the same report, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the authorities, in addition to enacting a new media law, review the proposed Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law and reform the Electronic Transactions Law (2004), the Motion Picture Law (1996), the Computer Science Development Law (1996), the Television and Video Law (1985), the Printers and Publishers Registration Act (1962), the Wireless Telegraphy Act (1933), the Emergency Provisions Act (1950), and the State Protection Act (1975), with a view to bringing them into line with international human rights standards,

Considering that the IPU is currently providing a comprehensive programme of assistance to the Myanmar Assembly of the Union,

  1. Thanks the Director General of the Parliament Office for his letter;

  2. Welcomes the continued efforts being made by the authorities, in particular parliament with regard to legislation, to give effect to human rights in Myanmar;

  3. Feels obliged, nevertheless, to reiterate its long-standing view that the former parliamentarians-elect who were detained and sentenced were all political prisoners held on the basis of unjust laws and unfair procedures;

  4. Trusts that the parliament of Myanmar, as the State institution representing the people and their interests and therefore guaranteeing their full enjoyment of civil and political rights, will act decisively and speedily so as to review, and if need be repeal, those laws to ensure compliance with international human rights standards; wishesto know whether parliament has established, as suggested by the Special Rapporteur, a time-line for undertaking this review; calls on parliament to ensure more specifically that the necessary regulatory and legislative framework is in place to protect members of parliament in their work; suggests that the IPU help ensure that this is taken into account in the ongoing capacity-building assistance it provides to parliament;

  5. Recalls that seven former parliamentarians-elect died in prison or shortly after their release as a result of their conditions of detention and that two were assassinated without their murders ever having been elucidated, a situation that it deplores; recalls the importance of the principles of truth, justice and reconciliation and sincerely hopes that the Myanmar authorities, in particular the Assembly of the Union, will seek to translate these principles into action; trusts that the new Prison Act will ensure that prisoners are treated in full accordance with international norms; wishes to receive a copy of the legislative proposal and to be kept informed of progress towards its adoption;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities and to the source;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and to report back to it in due course.

* On 2 April 2008, the Members of Parliament Union-Burma affirmed that Myint Thein had died following his release as his health had been badly impaired by his detention.
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