Burma’s HR Commission now open for business

According to DVB, Burma’s new Human Rights Commission is now accepting complaints. It’s perhaps somewhat surprising that the commission will hear and decide actual cases, however it is in line with President Thein Sein’s mini-glasnost. Cases already filed in the regular courts will not be transferred, but from this point on the commission should be the primary point institution for human rights cases. Some critics worry that the commission will essentially act as a Trojan horse, turning on complainants once they reveal themselves to the commission. Indeed, Burma’s courts have often “blamed the victim” by allowing government officials to countersue complainants for defamation (the Su Su Nwe case was a particularly blatant example of this). However, the commission could also represent the new government’s attempt to bypass the corrupted judiciary completely.

In other interesting news, the Pyithu Hluttaw passed a law that would allow peaceful protests. Interestingly, according to Myanmar Times, the Hluttaw Bill Committee struck down one amendment for not conforming to the 2008 Constitution. This might be a sign that this committee will begin exercising legislative constitutional review even before cases reach the Constitutional Tribunal.

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