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July 06, 2021

ABA President Patricia Lee Refo sends letter condemning attacks on the rule of law in Myanmar

WASHINGTON, July 6, 2021 —American Bar Association President Patricia Lee Refo has sent a letter to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of Defense Services in Myanmar, condemning the Tatmadaw’s abrogation of the rule of law through its February 1st military coup d’etat and detention of de facto leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, among other government leaders.

These actions have displaced Myanmar civilian rule, failed to respect the results of the November 2020 election, and resulted in the failure to seat all duly elected members of Parliament, including those in the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. The ABA also condemns the military’s actions that undermine Myanmar’s judicial system and the independence of its lawyers and judges. These include the declaration of Martial Law Orders by its State Administration Council that usurp judicial powers in six townships.

Further, the ABA expresses serious concern about the arrests and detention of defense attorneys, an issue of particular importance to the ABA because of their impact on the rule of law in Myanmar and contravention of the principle of independence of lawyers. These actions impede the ability of defense attorneys to provide legal representation to their clients and have a chilling effect on the willingness of lawyers to represent detained individuals.

The ABA calls for Myanmar authorities to reinstate the rule of law; respect the independence of the judiciary, lawyers, and law officers; cease extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests and detentions; release all arbitrarily detained persons; and reverse all amendments to Myanmar’s Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and 2016 Legal Aid Law that violate international legal standards.

Read the entire letter here.

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