Protesters say rights violated after Mon State government silently opens bridge under controversial name

April 30, 2017

HURFOM: While locals in Mon State have been preparing to send an appeal letter to the Minister of Ethnic Affairs and other relevant government departments, the Mon State government silently opened the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge under the controversial name of “General Aung San Bridge (Chaungzone)” on April 27th 2017.

According to the central committee of protesters against renaming the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge, the Mon State government has abused the rights of the indigenous people of Mon State.

Forcefully changing the name of the bridge is not only a violation of human rights, it also abuses the rights of the indigenous people. [The National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government] has abused the [rights of the] ethnic minorities,” said Nai Man Raja, a leader of the central committee of protesters against renaming the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge.

Nai Man Raja had pointed out that in Chapter 2 – Objectives, Title No. 3, Sub-title (c) of the laws that protect the rights of ethnic minorities which was approved in February 25, 2015, says that languages, literature, arts, cultures, traditions, national identities, and historic heritages of the ethnic minorities must be preserved and developed.

Now, the central committee of protesters against renaming the Than Lwin (Chaungzone) Bridge have been trying to collect signatures from their supporters in order to send a petition to the Union Minister of Ethnic Affairs. They have already collected approximately 120,000 signatures.

The move by the Mon State government to open the Than Lwin Bridge under the name of “General Aung San Bridge (Chaungzone)” was preceded by months of local controversy, leading locals to voice voluble criticism against the ruling by the NLD.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released their 2017 Annual Report on April 26th 2017, in which Burma is named as a ‘country of particular concern.’ The report goes on to note the oppression of ethnic and religious rights under the former military regime, as well as the ongoing oppression of religious and ethnic freedom in the country.

 

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