Amend and enact a new association registration law that can charged with prison sentence; Nyaung-U’s Ngathayauk police station was attacked

Amend and enact a new association registration law that can charged with prison sentence; Nyaung-U’s Ngathayauk police station was attacked

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 30 Scenes
MoeMaKa, October 31 2022

Amend and enact a new association registration law that can charged with prison sentence; Nyaung-U’s Ngathayauk police station was attacked

Under U Thein Sein’s government, the “Law on Registration of Associations” was enacted in July 2014, and the law eased the restrictions on the formation of associations under the previous State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The 2014 law states that associations have the right to voluntarily register. Unregistered associations did not have the right to open a bank account under the association name and receive donations, but the law was loosen that there would be no action to take upon associations which did not register with the reason of  breaking the law.

During the government led by U Thein Sein, many associations were established and a number of organizations that understood rights such as labor rights, women’s rights, disabled rights, LGBT rights, freedom of the press, ethnic group rights, human rights, civil rights, etc., emerged to encourage people to demand their rights.

From 2016 to 2020, when the NLD government was holding power, there were calls to amend the association law to allow more freedom, including the law on the right to peaceful assembly and procession, which is abbreviated as “Nyein-Su-Si”, but there was no significant amendment under the NLD government.

After last year’s coup, it was assumed that these laws would be amended to be stricter, and now the Law on Registration of Associations is no longer amended clause by clause, instead, the 2022 association law, which replaces the whole, has been enacted.

In this law, registration is mandatory for all associations, except for religious and economic associations, and if the association does not register, it can be sentenced to up to 3 years in prison. Not only local associations, but also international organizations, like NGOs, established from abroad, will be covered by this law, and the law will be able to have a tighter control on international NGOs that will work to promote awareness of development, human rights and peoples’ rights.

After the military coup, many international NGO organizations left the country, and only a few international organizations and local organizations remained. They are working on humanitarian assistance, children’s rights assistance, and other civil rights awareness activities.

 The law that has just been issued will directly affect such organizations operating locally. In Myanmar, it is generally said that the law does not rule, but establishing the law with stricter punishments and worse restrictions will cause the minimum penalty to be very severe compared to other international standards. The legal system is designed to make it impossible to give a reduced sentence. 

Another piece of news for today is that the TTA-Guerrilla Force of Myingyan District PDF Battalion announced that they attacked Ngathayauk Police Station in Nyaung-U Township and killed 11 policemen. It was also said that the 21-year-old commander of a PDF squadron was also fallen in the battle. Ngathayauk town is included in Nyaung-U Township and is only 12 miles away from Bagan, north of Nyaung-U Airport. The fact that PDFs can attack a place only 10 miles from Bagan and Nyaung-U, which is not important in terms of military strategy, but is famous for tourism, shows that the military council’s ability to control its military power is decreasing. The news that the 9th grade daughter of a deputy police chief was shot dead by the PDFs while raiding the police station was reported in a propaganda telegram of the military council with a photo. Continuing a little north from Ngathayauk, there is the Irrawaddy River and Pakokku town on the other side, so those areas bordering Myingyan and Pakokku are where PDF activity is strong.

Before the end of 2022, the military council itself began to witness the confrontations of the local PDFs who were fighting the resistance war individually. With full use of their 2008 constitution and martial law, the military council is increasing the establishment of order and oppression by limiting and controlling civilians, parties, organizations and communities that they want to be recognized according to the territory. I think that the NUG and the networks that are attacking the military council will be able to push back the military council’s oppressive steps with their ability to protect, care for and relocate the unarmed people to safety.