Myitmakha News Agency
Mawlamyine, August 31 – Mon State Police Chief Bo Bo Oo, addressed the Mon State Police Department stating that as well as following the law and moral code of the police department, police officers need to also respectfully obey human rights.
“Just as police officers need to practice following the regulations of the police department, there’s also a need for them to uphold human rights. They need to read and follow the International Declaration of Human Rights,” he said.
The statement was made during a two-day workshop on human rights held between August 30 – 31 at the headquarters of the Mon State police and organized with Swedish support by the police department in partnership with the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC). The workshop was attended by 50 police officers of different rankings.
Dr Nyan Zaw, member of the MNHRC, told Myitmakha News Agency that the commission is holding human-rights focused workshops and training for members of the Myanmar police force in light of the extreme importance of police officers to abstain from violating human rights when performing crowd control or arresting, holding in custody and prosecuting those believed to be perpetrators of crimes, and in order to for members of the force to become familiar with points of the International Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights agreements which the Myanmar government has ratified.
“It’s important they understand about human rights so that they don’t find themselves violating them. Some [police officers] who don’t know about human rights are under the impression that performing acts which violate human rights are suitable for their profession. It’s with concern they might view their responsibility in this way that we’re holding these talks and discussions in order to better educate them on the types of laws in place to protect human rights and what is stated in international human rights agreements,” explained Dr Nyan Zaw.
He added the Myanmar police force have demonstrated a lack of understanding of such human rights by quoting examples of the Letpadan student protests, together with those protests over the Lepatdaung mountain copper mine, during which the police used excessive levels of force and displayed a disregard for human rights in breaking up crowds of demonstrating students and villagers.
The inaugural human-rights focused workshop for police officers was held back in July in Kayin State, while workshops will reportedly be held once a months in other states and regions around the country.