Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BURMA: Webpage launched for jailed "Hinthada 6"


(Hong Kong, October 16, 2007) The Asian Human Rights Commission on Tuesday launched a new webpage on the case of six jailed human rights defenders in Burma.

The six farmers from Hinthada, in the delta region, west of Rangoon, were jailed for four to eight years in July after one of them lodged a complaint about an assault organised by local government authorities in April that left two members of their Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP) group hospitalised.

"We have set up this webpage now especially because the attack on these human rights defenders and their subsequent prosecution was a harbinger of what happened across the country this August and September," Basil Fernando, executive director of the Hong Kong-based regional rights group, said.

"The method of deploying government-organised thugs under the watch and supervision of local police, council officials and others in this attack has been repeatedly used throughout these recent months," Fernando said.

"Then and now too the use of the courts purely to deny, rather than uphold, any notions of legality and rights speaks to what can only be called an utter injustice system," he said.
The webpage includes urgent appeals and statements on the case, biographies of the six detainees, and the Burmese text of the judgments against them.

It can be accessed at: http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/hinthada6/

The six had been distributing copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and two international human rights laws which the present government of Burma has voluntarily signed, on the rights of women and children.

"The case of the Hinthada 6 is in many respects the case of every person in Burma denied the right to peaceful protest, and denied the right to exercise their own conscience," Fernando added.

"We hope that by studying the individual case in detail, interested persons will better understand the intricacies of how the authorities in Burma manipulate and pervert notions law for their own purposes, with immense ramifications for the entire country," he said.
At least 14 other members of the HRDP group, including its head, have been detained or disappeared around the country since late August.

Details can be found on another webpage set up by the AHRC to document and support the protests against the country's military regime, which can be viewed at http://campaigns.ahrchk.net/burmaprotests/
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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.