On Sunday 29 January 2017, widely respected human rights lawyer and legal adviser to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD), U Ko Ni was brutally murdered. The Burma Justice Committee (BJC) urges the Burmese authorities to conduct a full and independent investigation into the murder of U Ko Ni.
Shot at close range leaving Yangon International Airport, U Ko Ni’s death brings the volatility of the Burmese political climate back to the fore. Despite the fact that the NLD won the supermajority of seats in Parliament in 2015, the obstinate blocking of constitutional reform by the Burmese military, who retain an arbitrary 25% of the seats in Parliament, has slowed the process of democratic reform and the establishment of the Rule of Law.
Both the legal and political landscapes of Burma are very much poorer for the tragic and premature demise of U Ko Ni. His prominent work as a defender of minority rights and constitutional reform should have paved the way for a brighter future for Burma.
The Chairman of the BJC, Sappho Dias, said “The silence of the Burmese authorities on this tragedy is utterly deplorable. U Ko Ni’s contribution to the fight for democracy was remarkable. Part of the 88 Generation, a former political prisoner and voice for those minorities suffering in Burma, his legacy should be properly recognised. It is past time for the Burmese regime to bring itself in line with its international obligations to its people. The investigation into this tragedy must be thorough, independent and in accordance with the substantive tenets of the Rule of Law. Further flouting of such basic principles as freedom, independence and dignity should be endured no longer. It is time for change.”