Alternative Asean Network on Burma
campaigns, advocacy and capacity-building for human rights
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For release on Fri 10 Feb 2017: Thirty-four international, regional and national organisations working in solidarity for human rights and democracy in Burma/Myanmar have signed a joint statement calling on the government to address growing intolerance, in the wake of the shocking assassination of prominent Muslim lawyer and activist U Ko Ni at Rangoon International Airport 10 days ago.

The organizations include those based in Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Malaysia, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the USA that are actively involved in trade union, human rights, minority rights, media freedom , refugee, women, peace and humanitarian aid movements.

In addition to calling for the establishment of an urgent, independent and impartial investigation into the murder, the statement also urges the government of Burma/Myanmar to implement the Rabat Plan of Action to prohibit advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred, including enactment of a law to see effective action on hate speech and discrimination. U Ko Ni had previously campaigned for such a law.

The statement will be distributed to Burmese diplomatic missions and national governments of the countries that signatories are based in.

Full text of the statement and list of signatories below.

For Media enquiries:

Australia and Pacific:
Kate Lee, Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA
Tel: + 61 420 293 083. Email:

Simon Billenness, International Campaign for the Rohingya
Tel: +1 617-596-6158. Email:

Mark Farmaner, Burma Campaign UK.
Tel +44 7941239640. Email

Debbie Stothard, ALTSEAN-Burma
Tel: + 66816861652. Email


As Civil Organisations dedicated to supporting Myanmar’s democratic transition and a lasting peace inclusive of religious and ethnic minorities in the country, the assassination of NLD legal advisor and prominent Muslim U Ko Ni in at Rangoon International Airport on 29 January 2017 comes as a shocking blow.

As a key legal advisor to the NLD on constitutional reform U Ko Ni played an extremely important role in advancing the struggle for greater democratic reform and the move towards federalism in Myanmar. He was also a powerful example of the valuable contribution Myanmar’s Muslim community makes to the nation. His assassination has sent shockwaves across the international human rights community. Such a tragedy is a tremendous loss for everyone in Myanmar and our thoughts go out to his family.

In our world of growing xenophobia and religious hatred and intolerance, it is crucial that this tragic event is not used to drive further division inside Myanmar. In the face of this, we call on the NLD led Government to take the following actions:

1. Arrange an urgent, independent and impartial investigation into the murder.

2. Recognise the insidious influence that anti-Muslim elements are having in Myanmar society and assert the religious and ethnic equality of all people in the country, including the persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

3. Commit to national implementation of the Rabat Plan of Action which would prohibit advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, including in U Ko Ni's own words, to enact a law to see effective action on hate speech and discrimination.

In addition to these actions we repeat the call for a UN Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the atrocities in Rakhine State. We call for UN members states to move forward on a CoI before the situation deteriorates any further.

Only a truly united Myanmar, free from religious and ethnic discrimination and persecution, can achieve the lasting peace, stability and progress that we all long for.

  1. Action Committee for Media FreedomĀ
  2. Actions Birmanie
  3. ALTSEAN-Burma
  4. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
  5. Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  6. Association Suisse-Birmanie
  7. Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
  8. Australian Council for International Development (ACFID)
  9. Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)
  10. Burma Action Ireland
  11. Burma Campaign UK
  12. Burma Link
  13. Burma Task Force (USA)
  14. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  15. Christian Solidarity Worldwide
  16. European Rohingya Council
  17. FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights
  18. Fortify Rights
  19. Free Burma Campaign (South Africa) (FBC(SA)
  20. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  21. Info Birmanie
  22. Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
  23. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  24. International state crime Initiative
  25. Justice Trust
  26. Norwegian Burma Committee (NBC)
  27. Odhikar
  28. Partners Relief and Development Australia
  29. Penang Stop Human Trafficking Campaign
  30. Refugee Action Coalition (Sydney)
  31. Rohingya Community Ireland
  32. Society for Threatened Peoples -Germany
  33. U.S. Campaign for Burma
  34. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA