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15 Feb 2021


Myanmar: ITUC expresses concern over impact of proposed cyber law on democracy, human rights and freedom of speech

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“Myanmar: Junta’s cyber law brings age of darkness”, 15 February 2021

The military released the planned law on 9 February with a spurious six-day “consultation” window. Workers across a range of key economic sectors in Myanmar are continuing to refuse to work, with strong public support.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “This law will put all communications in Myanmar under the control of the military, with devastating consequences for democracy and human rights ... Even questioning an action of the military junta online will lead to imprisonment and heavy fines. Any foreign companies which continue to operate in Myanmar will be subject to strict surveillance … and be forced to collaborate with the military in ways which open them … to serious legal jeopardy outside of Myanmar.”

The law includes under its cyber-crime framework “written and verbal statement against any existing law”, a flagrant violation of the internationally recognised rights to freedom of association and assembly and other international human rights standards…

The law also includes “offences committed locally and internationally”, meaning that persons outside Myanmar who criticise the junta face the prospect of action by the Myanmar military. The freedom of speech controls even extend to the “internet of things”.