Myanmar’s Ban on Public Speech by Monk Undermines Basic Rights
In response to Myanmar’s state-controlled monastic council ordering an indefinite ban on public speaking by Buddhist monk Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw, Freedom House released the following statement:
“The ban on Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw highlights the way Myanmar’s government targets religious leaders critical of government actions,” said Robert Herman, vice president for regional programs. “The monastic council is trying to silence Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw, even as ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu slanders a UN official and incites interreligious discord.”
Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw, abbot of the Shwe Nya Wah Monastery in Rangoon’s Hmawbi Township, often speaks publically about human rights issues and is known for his support for the political opposition. He recently provided assistance to student demonstrators calling for changes to the Education Law, and criticized the government for not respecting freedom of assembly. In 2011, he received a one-year ban not long after meeting with then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.