Amyotha Hluttaw enacts amended peaceful assembly law

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The 25th-day meeting of the seventh session of the second Amyotha Hluttaw was held in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
The MPs continued to debate the bill to amend the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, tabled by bill committee secretary Dr. Myat Nyana Soe of the Yangon region constituency (3), from yesterday’s meeting.
U Tin Aung Htun from the Magway region constituency said that the new Article 18, which will be added to Chapter 7 on sanctions, allows authorities to fine protesters an unlimited amount of money and should not be added.
Tatmadaw Hluttaw Representative Major Aung Ko Min said the amendment to Article 4(d) is unnecessary as it adds that citizens or organisations applying for permission for peaceful protests have to provide information on their budgets and their source of funds, which would have no discernible effect on the protesters. He also added that the inclusion of Article 18 can appear to be a pre-emptive measure, as it can allow authorities to sentence
or fine individuals or organisations funding the peaceful assembly.
The issue was then discussed by U Kyi Win of the Ayeyawady region constituency (12), Dr. Kun Win Taung of Kachin State constituency (11), U Sai Than Naing of Kayin State constituency (5), U Ye Htut of the Sagaing region constituency (5), Tatmadaw Representative Lieutenant Colonel Tin Lin Oo, and U Soe Thein of Kayah State constituency (9).
Bill committee member Daw Nwe Nwe Aung said the bill committee had reviewed the bill to see if it was in accordance with Article 354 of the Constitution, which grants liberty of free expression. She said the majority of the bill committee members had concluded the amendments would target only individuals or organisations who disrupt the rule of law and national security through peaceful assembly, and have therefore agreed to request the Amyotha Hluttaw to pass the bill. Bill committee members U Kyaw Kyaw, Daw Nan Ni Ni Aye and Brigadier General Tint Lwin then said they did not support the motion.
This was followed by a discussion among MPs U Khin Maung Latt, U Kyaw Kyaw Win, U Soe Thein and bill committee members U Kyaw Kyaw, Daw Nan Ni Ni Aye and Brig-Gen Tint Lwin on why the bill should not be passed, while the other MPs and bill committee members involved in the previous discussions discussed why the bill should be passed.
Bill Committee Secretary Dr. Myat Nyana Soe of the Yangon region constituency (3) then motioned for the Amyotha Hluttaw to pass the bill and Daw Kyin Ngai Mahn backed the decision.
This was followed by the Amyotha Hluttaw voting on passing the bill for amending the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, and the speaker then announced that the Amyotha Hluttaw had voted for the enactment of the amended law.
The next meeting of the Amyotha Hluttaw will be held on 9 March.


Aung Ye Thwin

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