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Law bodies condemn Myanmar violence

Australian law bodies, including the Law Council of Australia and LAWASIA, have joined the international chorus of condemnation over the current violence in Myanmar.

“The Law Council of Australia joins with the international legal community in condemning the continued and escalating violence in Myanmar and calls for the reinstatement of the country’s democratically-elected government,” Law Council President Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said.

She said the military coup d’état, which was unconstitutional under the 2008 Constitution drafted by the military, jeopardised Myanmar’s fragile democratic transition, and undermineds the hard-fought gains of Myanmar’s people.

The Law Council was also disturbed by reports that the military had used live ammunition against peaceful protesters, which was totally unacceptable under international human rights law.

“More than 1000 people have been arrested since the coup, including elected leaders of Myanmar’s civilian government, lawyers, journalists, and medical professionals, as well as protesters,” Ms Brasch said.

“Many of those arrested and detained are being held in unknown locations, without official charges or acknowledgement of their detention. Most have received no due process and permitted no legal representation, contrary to international human rights standards.

“The Law Council joins the international legal community in calling on the military to end the use of force against protesters, guarantee all person’s due process rights in accordance with the rule of law, and immediately release all civilian leaders and others detained unlawfully.

“It must also allow the democratically-elected National Assembly to reconvene, respect and uphold the rights of freedom of assembly and expression, and undertake to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms.”

LAWASIA has also released a detailed statement of concern on human rights violations and the rule of law in Myanmar, with LAWASIA President Chunghwan Choi drawing attention to failures to meet the established standards of human rights law and the grave danger faced by ethnic and religious minorities, including the Rohingya.

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