Sunday, 17 November 2019

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NLD Youth rolls out human rights aims

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Human rights issues will be the focus of National League for Democracy (Youth) activities once the party ceases to exist as a legal entity, a party spokesman said yesterday.

Electoral law provisions published last month by the military regime were causing the party to expire, – Rangoon Division Hlaing Tharyar Township National League for Democracy (NLD) Youth information department joint chief Khai Soe said. 

“After the NLD took the decision not to stand for election, our party programmes and activities will be more clearly directed on human rights issues and activities … Because we think, under the 2008 constitution, the human rights situation will worsen before and after the election”, Khai Soe told Mizzima.  

“I have experience in this issue as I am the former political prisoner. I fully comprehend the dangers that lie ahead … But we cannot be afraid …” he said. “We must face this situation and do what we should. We will work on these activities for the development of rights in Burma and to put our work back on a democratic track.”

The policy will be put to work within the legal framework by starting in Pegu, Irrawaddy and Magwe divisions, he said. Among the activities, the group will expose oppression by local authorities, land-grabbing, extrajudicial killings, forced recruitment of child soldiers and forced voting in the forthcoming elections.

“We will support the families of political prisoners by visiting their homes for counselling. And we will encourage them and discuss with them their right to choose whether or not to vote and that no force should be exerted. We will tell them to inform us when they experience these kinds of oppression and we will convey these violations to the people who deserved to be informed”, Khai Soe said.  

He also said that he will start this activity alone but that he has many supporters. He has to fill the vacuum left by rights activist Suu Suu New, who is serving a prison sentence for her work.  

Khai Soe was sentenced to a seven-year jail term in 1998 by the Insein Special Tribunal after being charged under sections 5(j) of the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act and 17(1) of the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act. 

(Section 5(j): to affect the morality or conduct of the public or a group of people in a way that would undermine the security of the Union or the restoration of law and order; Section 17(1): Whoever is member of an unlawful association, or takes part in meetings of any such association, or contributes or receives or solicits any contribution for the purpose of any such association, or in any way assists the operations of any such association, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term [which shall not be less two years and more than three years and shall also be liable to fine].) 

After his release from prison, he has engaged in social work and became an NLD member in 2007.  “I gave vocational training to children in abject poverty and school dropouts by finding donors. And also I provided training in hairdressing to young prostitutes who had been pushed into the flesh trade because of economic hardship and poverty. I organised them to get back on track,” he said.


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