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25 October 2014

Burma: Justice for Ko Par Gyi is Justice for Everyone

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 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 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, 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
democratically elected presidents 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, the death of Ko Par Gyi and how military and government handle 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.

In solidarity,
Burma Democratic Concern (BDC)