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UN experts condemn sentencing of Reuters journalists

GENEVA (3 September 2018) - UN experts strongly condemned today’s sentencing of two Reuters journalists to seven years imprisonment.

Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years imprisonment on 3 September by a court in Yangon for breaching a law on state secrets, following their reporting on Rakhine State.

“The sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is a dark moment for Myanmar,” said David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Yanghee LeeSpecial Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. 

“This is yet another clear signal of Myanmar’s distancing from international human rights law. We regret that the court failed to recognise the importance of independent journalism, freedom of expression and the public’s right to know.

“We urge the President to pardon the journalists, and if the case is appealed, for the court to take into account Myanmar’s human rights obligations and order their release,” the experts said.

The Special Rapporteurs previously have expressed their grave concerns, and urged greater press freedom after the journalists’ detention.

ENDS

*The UN experts: Ms. Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmarand Mr. David KayeSpecial Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For more information and media requests please contact:
Ms. Marina Narvaez (+41-22917 9615/mnarvaez@ohchr.org) or Ms. Azin Tadjdini (+41 22 917 9400 / atadjdini@ohchr.org) or write to freedex@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / 
jlaurence@ohchr.org

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org