The Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa, is very concerned about the status of one student of the Global Campus of Human Rights, Saw Lin Htet, who has been arrested and detained by Myanmar security forces on 23 March 2021 after an arbitrary search of his car.
As a student of the Global Campus of Human Rights, Saw Lin Htet is working for human rights and democracy and he is part of a global network working towards democratic and peaceful societies.
We understand that the Myanmar security forces have neglected to provide details of Saw Lin’s exact circumstances and status. The reasons for his arrest are highly questionable under the ‘fake news’ law (Law 505 (b)), and that he is to be tried in prison, while not receiving access to legal counsel. Numerous national, regional and global human rights standards, including principles found in the both the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN Charter) and ASEAN Human Rights Declaration have not been respected.
As members of the Global Campus, we take seriously the role of universities in ensuring and sustaining social justice, democracy and peace. Recent attacks on universities in Myanmar are, indeed, a disturbing sign of the withering of democracy and rule of law in the country. We would like to know that ASEAN nations hold similar views that universities, students, and academics should not face threats against them by merely undertaking their work. Further, we hope that commitments to human rights by all ASEAN member-states are fully promoted and protected, even if this necessitates the criticism of Myanmar. Finally, we hope that Saw Lin Htet is immediately released and receives all the legal rights which is due to him.
The Global Campus of Human Rights is a unique network of one hundred universities around the world seeking to advance human rights and democracy education. Global Campus Africa is coordinated by the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa.