Malaysia civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations and student groups express their disappointment at the arrest of four student protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar.
News portal The Irrawaddy reported that four student union members, namely Ko Zaw Ye Htut, Ko Hnin Aung, Ko Kaung Zaw Hein, and Ko Ye Myo Swe from Sagaing Teacher Training College have protested the draconian rules implemented on their campus in front of the Mandalay Department of Higher Education. However, the group of students were arrested and then detained by local police.
We believe that the students have their rights to think, speak and express their views and demands freely through non-violence. Dissent is normal and without it, there will be no progress towards democracy. In the case concerned, four students have delivered their protest regarding the banning of mobile phones and regulation of strict timetable in a peaceful manner by holding up only placards. Yet, they have been treated brutally by the enforcement agency.
On the other hand, respect is one of the duties of the state to realise the principle of human rights. In this case, government official like police shall not give rise to human rights violations. The actions taken by the Myanmar government are clearly against the principles of human rights. Therefore, we urge the immediate release of arrested students without conditions.
International communities are running high expectation for the political reforms and democratisation to succeed in Myanmar. We are delighted to see that the group of Myanmar students have the courage to stand in the frontline for upholding the principles of human rights.
This statement is endorsed by the following civil society organisations/student groups:
1) Malaysia Youth & Student Democratic Movement (Dema)
2) Project Dialog
3) Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit)
4) Community Development Centre (CDC)
5) Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany)
6) KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Women Division
7) Women Development Organisation of Malaysia PJ New Town Branch
8) Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM)
9) Kesatuan Mahasiswa Malaysia