On behalf of the membership of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, who hail from legislatures across Southeast Asia, I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the murder yesterday of U Ko Ni, a respected lawyer in Myanmar and legal advisor to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party.
U Ko Ni’s death represents a great loss for Myanmar and for all of ASEAN. He was a veteran of Myanmar’s democratic struggle and a consistent voice for tolerance and human rights. His vocal support for minority rights was an inspiration to all who struggle against hatred, bigotry, and persecution. Our deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones, as well as all the people of Myanmar. We stand with them in mourning his loss.
Authorities must urgently and thoroughly investigate this incident and ensure that justice is served. While information about the attack is still incomplete, the circumstances and questions it raises are deeply concerning and demand answers. Authorities must also take steps to guarantee the safety and security of all minority populations in Myanmar, including Muslims, condemn all hate speech and violence, and promote peaceful co-existence.
U Ko Ni’s murder demonstrates the precarious position in which Myanmar finds itself today as rising intolerance threatens the success of much heralded reforms. The dangers posed by hate speech and extreme nationalism are real and must be countered if Myanmar is to move forward and successfully develop into the peaceful and vibrant democracy its people deserve.
Hon. Charles Santiago (MP, Malaysia)
Chairperson, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
On behalf of the membership of APHR