September 22, 2016

No excuse for abuse

The number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled in the past decade, with more than 76 million people from 31 countries in urgent need of assistance, according to the United Nations. The persistent, sometimes blatant, violation of human rights includes the abuse of housemaids, which is inexcusable in every sense. There is a critical need to prepare for and respond to such inhumane treatment to housemaids who are living in the most deplorable conditions.
Despite the existence of government’s bodies like ministries and departments, committees and commissions are formed at different levels of administration. In this respect, there arises a question as to whether they have been institutionalised to pass a verdict over a horrendous abuse that can be considered a criminal case.
Following a Myanmar Now 19 September news report of two young girls tortured for over five years as housemaids in Kyauktada township, Yangon, the police launched an investigation under the anti-human trafficking law. The news went viral on social media within minutes, with users commenting that the case can be interpreted as a challenge to the country’s judicial power.
The girls, who are from a village in Kawhmu township, had suffered gruesome torture throughout their bondage at Ava tailoring shop in Kyauktada township until they were returned to their parents. According to reports, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission brokered a compensation of K5 million between the abusers and the abused.
Now that MNHRC’s name is mud across social media, activists, as well as the legal community, have called for justice by denouncing the commission’s handling of the domestic abuse case as a monetary victory over legal protection.


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