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UN Rights Office Calls on Myanmar to Release Jailed Columnist and Guarantee Free Expression

Posted on | June 6, 2015 | No Comments

ICC Note: This case clearly demonstrates the lack of freedom of expression in Myanmar, and the repressive atmosphere being fomented by the country’s Buddhist nationalists.  U Htin Lin Oo is a Buddhist but gave a speech calling on other Buddhists in Myanmar to avoid extremism, which has led to many recent problems in the country.

By Ravina Shamsadani

06/04/2015 Myanmar (UN News Service)

Appalled at the two-year prison sentence handed down to U Htin Lin Oo on charges of insulting religion, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today urged the Myanmar authorities to release the columnist and guarantee freedom of expression and opinion in the country.

“We urge the authorities to release U Htin Lin Oo unconditionally and to take all necessary measures to ensure that those who conduct peaceful advocacy, legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression and opinion, do not face reprisals,” said OHCHR spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, during a press briefing in Geneva.

According to the media, U Htin Lin Oo, a former official at the National League for Democracy party, was sentenced to two years of jail and hard labour on Tuesday for a speech meant to discourage Buddhist extremism.

“U Htin Lin Oo courageously spoke out against the use of Buddhism as a tool for extremism. His treatment and conviction are in stark contrast to the treatment of those in Myanmar who are clearly inciting violence against minority communities, particularly the Rohingya,” Ms. Shamdasani added.

[Full Story]

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