Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) is very saddened to learn that freelance photo-journalist Ko Aung Kyaw Naing (aka) Ko Par Gyi is killed during interrogation by soldiers. We call for Burmese government to independently investigate the death of Ko Par Gyi and bring anyone responsible before justice. Burmese judges should be able to operate independently and impartially to provide proper justice for Ko Par Gyi. Burmese law enforcement organizations such as police force which also needs to work independently and impartially as well as civil society organisations (CSOs) and INGOs such as ICRC should have full access to investigate the Ko Par Gyi’s case.
ICRC in Burma should raise this issue with Burmese government and should demand to independently investigate the cause of death of Ko Aung Kyaw Naing (aka) Ko Par Gyi so that whosoever responsible will be held accountable possible. This is totally unacceptable that Ko Par Gyi is brutally murdered no matter what whether he is a journalist or a member of the armed insurgent group. Burmese military got no right to kill or torture him nor got no right to treat him inhumanely. Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) strongly denounces brutal killing of Ko Par Gyi and we believe that this is committing serious crime of extrajudicial killing.
Killing unarmed civilian journalist is committing international crime as well as killing armed-opposition group member who got arrested is defined as Prisoner of War (POW) whose rights are protected under Geneva Convention. Killing Prisoner of War (POW) is also breaching international treaty and committing heinous crime. The Third Geneva Convention, relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, is one of the four treaties of the Geneva Conventions which defines humanitarian protections for prisoners of war. Burma is a signatory country signed and ratified Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, (12 August 1949) on 25 August 1992. So, Burmese government got the obligation to abide by her commitment and if anyone is breaching the signed and ratified one or more treaties, the international community can take action accordingly.
By killing Ko Par Gyi, Burmese military has breached several articles of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” including Article 3. “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”; Article 5. “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”; Article 9. “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile”; and Article 10. “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal”.
In a democratic country, the government is the servant of the public. For example, in UK, the British Prime Minister David Cameron recently said in the media that “I’ve got only one boss, the British public”. This comment clearly describes how democratic system and democratically elected leaders treating its own people. David Cameron is humbly expressing himself that he is no more than a public servant and he is not a ruler.
In a fully democratic country, functioning parliament is examining and challenging the work of the government and passing all laws and parliament is the highest legislative authority. Burmese parliament got the responsibility to check the work of government and should examine working to bring about justice for Ko Par Gyi as well as to make sure to prevent more incidents like him.
Burmese military must accept civilian control and must uphold international human rights and humanitarian law. Burmese military must accept the fact that in a fully democratic country- civilians control the military and there is no one above the law. In a fully democratic country like USA, the Commander in Chief of the military is always the democratically elected president and currently President Barack Obama. Burma’s military commander in chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, should work cooperating fully with Burma’s law enforcement bodies so as to bring whosoever responsible to justice.
Our loss of Ko Par Gyi is one life too many and if Burma is truly embarking on a democratic path, President U Thein Sein must take action seriously to bring before justice anyone committing such a serious crime. This is also a litmus test for U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian regime calming to be working to be a clean government and good governance which characteristics consist of accountability, transparency and respecting rule of law.
The unfortunate death of Ko Par Gyi is the challenge for Burmese President U Thein Sein and his administration as well as the challenge for Burmese military leaders to prove that whether they really are committed to respect rule of law, democratic principles and human rights. Addition, how military and government handle the death of Ko Par Gyi will reveal the fact that whether current regime is backtracking or military is still above the law.
Burma Democratic Concern (BDC) earnestly calls for all the justice loving people around the world to work together to bring not only justice for Ko Par Gyi but also to make sure to have justice realities in Burma.
Burma Democratic Concern (BDC)