Myanmar scraps loathed 'midnight inspections' law

2016-09-20 19:18
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Manuel Balce Ceneta, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Yangon - Myanmar is scrapping part of a hated law that forced people to report overnight guests and was used by authorities to barge into houses late at night, often targeting activists.

The country's parliament, now filled with former political prisoners after landmark polls in November, voted to remove the controversial clause on Monday despite opposition from the military, which still controls a quarter of seats.

Under the former junta it became known as the "midnight inspections" law because police would often turn up at people's houses unannounced, demanding to know who was staying there.

Activists said officials were still using the legislation to harass people and extort money even after the military handed power to a semi-civilian government in 2011.

More than 50 civil society groups last month called for an end to the law, which they described as an "oppressive tool seriously threatening the human security and dignity of the people".

U Win Htein, an aide to veteran activist Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now leading the country's civilian administration, said lawmakers had kept some caveats in the bill for security reasons.

"We scrapped that clause, but we inserted some conditions," said the ex-political prisoner, who spent years behind bars under the former junta.

Police are no longer authorised to intrude late at night but can "ask about the presence of strangers in an honourable way," he said.

The new form of the bill also requires guests staying in a village or ward to register with authorities after one month.

U Win Htein told AFP the army had opposed scrapping the clause because they were "worried it would reduce their authority".

Myanmar's military ruled the country for decades before stepping down in 2011, paving the way for the democratic transition that lifted Suu Kyi into power earlier this year.

However, soldiers still run several powerful government ministries and control large parts of the economy.

Read more on:    myanmar

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.