Monday, July 24, 2017

Hluttaws revoke oppressive state protection law

Parliament has axed a junta-era state protection law that MPs say was drafted with the intention of imprisoning activists and politicians.

The 1975 State Protection Act, also known as the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts”, was enacted under the Burma Socialist Program Party. It allows the government to declare a State of Emergency and to suspend citizen’s basic rights. Many opposition figures, including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, were imprisoned under the law.

Both the upper and lower houses voted to strike the act.

The Bill Committee, which had proposed revoking the law, argued that it was not in the public’s interest, and was also redundant as the 2008 constitution already contains provisions for calling a State of Emergency, should the nation come under threat.

Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint said on May 24 that both hluttaws had approved revoking the bill with no caveats, so it will not be debated in a joint Pyidaungsu Hluttaw session, but instead cut, and recorded in the minutes.

Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Pe Than of the Arakan National Party said that the law was outdated.

“That law should not exist. It was enacted with the sole purpose of arresting politicians. We can’t have laws like that existing today,” he said.

 Translation by Khant Lin Oo