The Telecommunications Law was introduced in 2013 and since then it has been used repeatedly to restrict freedom of speech and expression. Defamation charges under Section 66 (d) of the law have been brought against reporters, politicians and social media users. Many people have been arrested for criticising the military, the government or merely posting on Facebook.
The Unlawful Associations Act is used by the Burmese authorities to intimidate and arrest political activists. It is also most commonly used against members of ethnic minorities in Burma. Many political prisoners who were arrested during the period of direct military rule were charged under this act. Section 17/1 is the most commonly used section of this act.
The Unlawful Associations Act is a serious threat to freedom of association and human rights in the country, and the law should be abolished.
Repressive laws which arbitrarily restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly remain in place, and authorities continue to use them to intimidate, arrest and jail human rights defenders, peaceful activists, members of ethnic minorities and the media.
We are producing a series of briefings on Burma’s repressive laws, with actions you can take to help pressure the government in Burma to reform or repeal the laws.