August 19, 2016

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, MNHRC

Dr. Khine Khine Win

With the mandate to promote and protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of Myanmar as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission was established on the 5th of September 2011 by a presidential decree. In order to fully comply with the Paris Principles and to effectively promote and protect the Rights of citizens enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Human Rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nation and international human rights instruments applicable to the State, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission law was enacted by Pyidaungsu Hluttaw with the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No. (21/2014). Under the provisions laid down in Section (4) and Section (9) of this law, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission was reconstituted on 24 September 2014. The Commission is situated at No.27, Pyay Road, Hlaing Township in Yangon.
Vision of the Commission is to ensure respect for human dignity, social justice, non-discrimination, and the rule of law through the promotion and protection of human rights. Eleven Members of Commission and 61 staff members of Commission Office are earnestly striving to bolster the momentum of the promotion and protection activities of the Commission. Five divisions in Commission office have been carrying out their respective functions.
Promotion and Protection of human rights is the main function of Commission.  As provided under Chapter 5 of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law, the commission has mandate to investigate and make inquiries related to complaints and allegations of human rights violation, commission can travel to the scene of violations and make inquiries based on complaint or news — prisons, jails, detention centers and places of confinement. Any person may lodge a complaint with the commission on his/her own behalf, or on behalf of another person or on behalf of a group of persons with a similar cause of complaint concerning any alleged violations of human rights.
After hearing the complaints and making inquiries, the complaints were forwarded to the Office of the Union Government, respective Ministries and Office of the State and Regional Government. In accordance with Section 38 of the MNHRC law, a request was made for a response to be given within 30 days. However, few cases met the dead line and most of the replies were received only after 90 days had elapsed.
Due to having the power to inspect the scene of human rights violations — prisons, jails, detention centers, places of confinement — the Commission inspected 32 times during 2011 September to December 2015.
With regard to MNHRC law, the commission shall not inquire the cases that have been failed by any court, cases under trail before any court, cases under appeal or revision on the decision of any court and cases that have been finally determined by any court .
To coordinate and cooperate with the international organizations, regional organizations, national statutory institutions, civil society and nongovernmental organizations related to human rights is one of the objectives of MNHRC law. Therefore, the Commission has been carrying out activities to promote and educate the public and advancement has been made by the commission in relation to its objectives.
Giving human rights lectures to National Defense Colleague and Central Institute of Civil Service (Lower and Upper Myanmar) is one of the activities of human rights awareness raising activity of the Commission. Commission believes that human rights  awareness raising activities promote attitudes and encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others. The commission also conducted training workshops for government officials of State and Regions for two days to enable them to understand basic principles of  human rights. In order to promote public awareness of human rights, the commission held human rights education talks at townships levels and also conducted one day workshop with CSOs and NGOs at grass root level.  To raise human rights knowledge awareness extensively to the people, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was not only translated into the Myanmar language but also into Kachin, Mon and Shan languages and the translated versions were widely distributed. A film script on article 26 of the UDHR (The right to education) was produced and screened during television programmes.
Any citizen may send complaint to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission when his or her fundamental rights in the Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar are violated. If the Commission concludes that the alleged violations of the fundamental rights in the Constitution against a citizen are true,   it will take steps  in accordance with complaint procedures to promote and safeguard the fundamental rights.
The Commission pledges to fulfill its vision to create a society where human rights are respected and protected in line with the provisions of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law in cooperation with the relevant organizations.


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