Murder of human rights lawyer in Myanmar

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Wyn Myint.

What’s the issue

We’re concerned about the murder of the Burmese lawyer U Ko Ni that took place on 29 January 2017.

U Ko Ni was a prominent human rights lawyer in Myanmar. He was killed after returning from an official visit in Indonesia as part of his work to promote inter-faith tolerance and reconciliation.

We understand that the police have arrested the alleged murderer, as well as three alleged co-conspirators. We’re also aware that the Yangon’s Northern District Court has started criminal proceedings against the four defendants, who have been indicted for the murder of U Ko Ni.

We also understand that criminal proceedings have begun against Lieutenant Colonel Aung Win Khaing who is alleged to have masterminded the killing. We’re also aware that in early February 2018 before the court hearing into U Ko Ni’s murder a small group of people appeared at the court to show their support for the four men accused of involvement in the murder.

Photographic evidence that these people were wearing t-shirts with the slogan “Eat well (before you die)” in Burmese. This is considered a threat warning of impending revenge.

We strongly condemn these acts of intimidation in the premises of the court compound because it undermines the rule of law, the public’s confidence in the judicial system, and threatens national stability.

More than one year after U Ko Ni’s murder, the perpetrators of this crime are yet to be tried for their actions.

What we asked for

We condemn the killing of U Ko Ni and urge the relevant authorities to ensure that:

  • an appropriate, fair and thorough investigation is carried out into the killing of U Ko Ni and that those responsible are brought to justice
  • any proceedings brought against those indicted for the killing of U Ko Ni are in line with international standards on due process and that the rights to a fair trial and other judicial guarantees are fulfilled
  • lawyers and human rights defenders in Myanmar can carry out their work without any hinderance and free from threats, intimidation, harassment and reprisals