Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law
The Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law regulates protest in Myanmar. The Law clearly violates the Myanma people’s rights to freedom of expression and assembly by:
- Prioritising control over rather than facilitation of protests
- Requiring protesters to overcome burdensome and bureaucratic hurdles
- Effectively making spontaneous protests unlawful
- Overly restricting the content and conduct of protests, criminalising protesters
- Giving the police vague powers – including the use of force – to stop protests based on ambiguous and merely potential risks
- The objectives should be changed to a presumption in favour of the rights to freedom of expression and assembly and creating a duty for the state to protect and promote these rights without discrimination.
- Specific duties of the authorities to facilitate protests should be added.
- The law should only require advance notification for protests that are likely to be large and where authorities reasonably need to plan to facilitate them.
- The list of necessary information should be reduced to just information on the date, time, location or route, estimated numbers of protesters, and contact details for any organisers.
- All requests for information on the content of the protest should be removed.
- The burden of informing authorities in different locations should be shifted from the protesters to the authorities.
- The Law should ensure a transparent and prompt process for placing prior conditions on the time, place or manner of a protest, including justifications and options for appeal.
- Authorities should be explicitly stopped from pressuring protest organisers to change their plans.
- The law should provide an exemption to notification where it is not practical or possible in the circumstances, or where there is no identifiable organiser.
- The law should remove all restrictions on the conduct and content of the protests. The only sanction should be for inciting violence.
- The law should remove powers to prevent protests from going ahead, except where there is clear evidence of an intention to incite violence.
- Authorities should be given clear duties to de-escalate protests using negotiation and communication, and dispersal should be an exceptional measure only in response to imminent incitement to violence.
- Authorities should be given clear guidelines on in which situation they can use force, ensuring legality, legitimacy, necessity and proportionality.