RCSS's arrests of civilians could harm peace process, human rights: Human Rights Commission

Maung Htoo

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission issued a statement on August 7 saying that Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA)'s continued detention of civilians without releasing them could disrupt Myanmar's ongoing peace process and harm human rights.

According to the statement, SSA Brigade-759 Company 198 arrested 12 young workers for EXY Company, Power Tun Co, Love and Like Co and Pan Thu Co in Kyaingkham region in Shan State on December 28, 2010. As the workers had not been released yet, their parents sent a complaint to the rights commission.

"The complaint letter is dated on June 31, 2017," said Yu Lwin Aung, spokesperson to the commission.

The commission reported the matter to the Shan State government on January 11 this year. The government then sent back a letter dated May 23, 2018.

In the above statement, the human rights commission quoted the state government as saying that SSA arrested some company workers and some of them had been released. However, SSA continued to detain six workers. The companies tried to take back the remaining six by sending a group of seven to pay the SSA K20 million as ransom on January 6, 2011. However, SSA members arrested six of them and released a man by the name of Sai San Hla, saying the amount of ransom was less than that they demanded. A total of those 12 civilians have not been released till today. The government has officially urged the liaison office of RCSS/SSA in Taunggyi to release those civilians.

Regarding the rights commission's statement, contacts were made with RCSS officials. But they did not reply. RCSS is an ethnic armed organisation, a signatory to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.