CHRO

4 November 2021

UN Security Council Must Act Now to End Myanmar Junta’s Campaign of Terror

We, the undersigned 521 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organizations, call on the UN Security Council to urgently convene a meeting on the escalating attacks in Chin State, and address the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian, human rights and political crisis in Myanmar. We call for the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to consolidate international action to stop the military’s violent assault against the people of Myanmar. The UN Security Council must also impose a global arms embargo to stop the flow of weapons and dual-use goods to the Myanmar military junta.

It has been nine months since the attempted coup by the brutal Myanmar military. 1,236 people have been killed and 9,667 arbitrarily detained as of 3 November, 2021. The junta has continued its violent assault throughout Myanmar, recently deployed troops and increased its attacks against civilians in Chin State, Sagaing and Magwe Regions in north-western Myanmar, while continuing its attacks in Karenni, Karen and Shan States.

On Friday 29 October, the Myanmar military began shelling the town of Thantlang in Western Chin State, setting as many as 200 houses and at least two churches on fire. Soldiers also deliberately torched houses at random.

Save the Children – whose office in Thantlang was set on fire alongside local civil society organizations including Chin Human Rights Organization – strongly condemned the recent attacks stating “the incident is further evidence of a deepening crisis in Myanmar” as the violence continues to affect large numbers of children across the country. Such indiscriminate attacks against civilians and humanitarian organizations are violations of international law and constitute war crimes.

Following the 1 February attempted coup, Chin State has been at the forefront of some of the strongest resistance to the Myanmar military junta. This has been met with fierce attacks by the military, including use of fighter jets and heavy artillery used against civilians while hundreds have been arbitrarily detained, and dozens killed. Prior to this most recent attack, approximately 10,000 residents had already fled Thantlang as the military junta indiscriminately shot into homes and set off fires by shelling in September. At the time, a Christian pastor who was attempting to put out the fires was shot dead, and his ring finger cruelly cut off and removed, along with his wedding ring. Those displaced have taken shelter in nearby villages and others have sought refuge in India. Many of those who have been displaced have been unable to access humanitarian aid as the junta weaponizes aid for their own political benefit, often blocking access or destroying it in an effort to weaken the resistance.

In early October, amid increasing deployment of heavy weapons and troops by the military junta, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged “the international community to speak with one voice, to prevent the commission of further serious human rights violations against the people of Myanmar.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights also warned of greater human rights catastrophe and further mass atrocity crimes amid the deployment of tens of thousands of troops stating, “These tactics are ominously reminiscent of those employed by the military before its genocidal attacks against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017.” Echoing these concerns, 29 Rohingya organizations have urged the Council not to repeat the mistakes it made in 2017 by failing to act on warnings of an impending military offensive against the Rohingya.

Since the start of the attempted coup nine months ago, hundreds of Myanmar and international society organizations have repeatedly and vehemently called for the UN Security Council to act. This includes a statement from 92 Chin civil society organizations and Burma Campaign UK, who have called on the UK as the “penholder” of Myanmar at the UN Security Council to urgently act. The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar have also called for the UN Security Council to “issue a resolution to consolidate international action towards resolving the crisis.”

Yet, the Security Council has failed to take any effective actions beyond statements. As the offensives escalate in Chin State, the UN Security Council must act before it is too late. It must convene an urgent meeting on the escalating attacks in Chin State and the overall deepening political, human rights and humanitarian crisis as a result of the Myanmar military leaders search for power and greed that has caused immense suffering. The human security risk not only threatens the people of Myanmar but also regional and thus global security and peace. The Council must immediately build on previous statements with concrete action by adopting a resolution that consolidates international action to resolve the deepening crisis, a global arms embargo to stop the flow of weapons, including dual-use goods, and refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. The Council must demonstrate that it will take concrete actions to stop the junta from committing further atrocity crimes and posing further risk to human security of the people of Myanmar.

The UN must not continue to fail the people of Myanmar.

For more information, please contact:

Signed by 521 Myanmar, regional and international civil society organizations* including:

  1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)
  2. Action Committee for Democracy Development
  3. African Great Lakes Action Network
  4. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand
  5. All Burma IT Student Union
  6. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
  7. ALTSEAN-Burma
  8. America Rohingya Justice Network
  9. American Baptist Churches USA
  10. American Rohingya Advocacy
  11. Ananda Data
  12. Anti-Dictatorship in Burma – DC Metropolitan Area
  13. Arakan CSO Network
  14. Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
  15. Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia
  16. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
  17. Arakan Rohingya Union
  18. Arizona Kachin Community
  19. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
  20. Asho University Students Association (AUSA)
  21. Asho Youth Organization
  22. Asian Dignity Initiative
  23. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  24. Asian Resource Foundation
  25. Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition
  26. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
  27. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  28. Association of Women for Awareness & Motivation (AWAM)
  29. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
  30. Auckland Kachin Community Inc.
  31. Auckland Zomi Community
  32. Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
  33. Backpack Health Workers Team
  34. Balaod Mindanaw
  35. Bangkok Chin University Student Fellowship
  36. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
  37. Baptist World Alliance
  38. Blood Money Campaign
  39. British Rohingya Community in UK
  40. Buddhist Solidarity for Reform
  41. Burma Action Ireland
  42. Burma Campaign UK
  43. Burma Human Rights Network
  44. Burma Medical Association
  45. Burma Task Force
  46. Burmese American Millennials
  47. Burmese Community Support Group (Australia)
  48. Burmese Democratic Forces
  49. Burmese Rohingya Association in Queensland-Australia (BRAQA)
  50. Burmese Rohingya Association Japan (BRAJ)
  51. Burmese Rohingya Association of North America
  52. Burmese Rohingya Community Australia (BRCA)
  53. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
  54. Burmese Rohingya Community of Georgia
  55. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
  56. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand
  57. Burmese Student Association at UCSB
  58. Burmese Women’s Union
  59. California Kachin Community
  60. Calvary Burmese Church
  61. Campaign for a New Myanmar
  62. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organisation
  63. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
  64. Cantors’ Assembly
  65. CAU Buddhist
  66. CDM Supporter Team (Hakha)
  67. Central Chin Youth Organization (CCYO)
  68. Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
  69. Cherry Foundation (Yangon), Burma/Myanmar
  70. Chin Baptist Association, North America
  71. Chin Baptist Churches USA
  72. Chin Civil Society Network (CCSN)
  73. Chin Community of Auckland
  74. Chin Community of USA-DC Area
  75. Chin Education Initiative (CEI)
  76. Chin Human Rights Organization
  77. Chin Humanitarian Assistance Team Rakhine State (CHAT)
  78. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
  79. Chin Literature and Culture Committee (Universities of Yangon)
  80. Chin Student Union – Kalay
  81. Chin Student Union – Pakokku
  82. Chin Student Union – Sittwe
  83. Chin Student Union of Myanmar
  84. Chin University Student Fellowship – Paletwa
  85. Chin University Students in Rakhine State (CUSRS)
  86. Chin Women Organization (CWO)
  87. Chin Women’s Development Organization (CWDO)
  88. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  89. Coalition for Democracy
  90. Community Resource Centre (CRC)
  91. Dallas Kachin Community
  92. Darfur and Beyond, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
  93. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
  94. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
  95. Democracy for Myanmar – Working Group (NZ)
  96. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization – DPW
  97. Equality Myanmar
  98. European Rohingya Council (ERC)
  99. Falam Phunsang Tlawngta Pawlkom
  100. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)
  101. Fidi Foundation (Hakha)
  102. Florida Kachin Community
  103. Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
  104. Free Myanmar Campaign USA/BACI
  105. Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC)
  106. Freedom for Burma
  107. Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
  108. Future Light Center
  109. Future Thanlwin
  110. Gender and Development Institute – Myanmar
  111. Gender Equality Myanmar
  112. Generation Wave
  113. Georgia Kachin Community
  114. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  115. Global Justice Center
  116. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy
  117. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution
  118. Global Witness
  119. Globe International Center
  120. Grassroots Movement for Burma
  121. Green Party Korea International Committee
  122. Hakha Campaign for Justice
  123. Hakha University Student Organization (HUSO)
  124. Houston Kachin Community
  125. Human Rights Alert
  126. Human Rights Development for Myanmar
  127. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
  128. Human Rights Watch
  129. Imparsial
  130. Incorporated Organization Shilcheon Bulgyo
  131. Infinite Burma
  132. Initiatives for International Dialogue
  133. Institute for Asian Democracy
  134. Inter Pares
  135. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  136. International Karen Organisation
  137. Iowa Kachin Community
  138. Ipas
  139. Jewish World Watch
  140. Jogye Order Chapter of Korea Democracy Union
  141. Justice For Myanmar
  142. Kachin Alliance
  143. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
  144. Kachin Community of Indiana
  145. Kachin Community of USA
  146. Kachin National Organization USA
  147. Kachin Peace Network (KPN)
  148. Kachin State Women Network
  149. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  150. Kanpetlet University Student Organization
  151. Kansas Karenni Community, KS
  152. Karen American Association of Milwaukee, WI
  153. Karen Association of Huron, SD
  154. Karen Community of Akron, OH
  155. Karen Community of Iowa, IA
  156. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO
  157. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN
  158. Karen Community of North Carolina, NC
  159. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
  160. Karen Human Rights Group
  161. Karen Organization of America
  162. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
  163. Karen Organization of San Diego
  164. Karen Peace Support Network
  165. Karen Rivers Watch
  166. Karen Women’s Organization
  167. Karen Youth Education Pathways
  168. Karenni Civil Society Network
  169. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ
  170. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK
  171. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
  172. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
  173. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
  174. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
  175. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
  176. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
  177. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA
  178. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
  179. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
  180. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
  181. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
  182. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
  183. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
  184. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
  185. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI
  186. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN
  187. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
  188. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
  189. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
  190. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
  191. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
  192. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
  193. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
  194. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
  195. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
  196. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
  197. Karenni Human Rights Group
  198. Karenni National Women’s Organization
  199. Karenni Society New Zealand
  200. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
  201. Karenni-American Association
  202. Kaung Rwai Social Action Network
  203. Keng Tung Youth
  204. Kentucky Kachin Community
  205. Korean Ashram
  206. L’chaim! Jews Against the Death Penalty
  207. Los Angeles Rohingya Association
  208. Louisiana Kachin Community
  209. Manyou Power People
  210. Maryland Kachin Community
  211. Matupi University Student Fellowship
  212. Metta Campaign Mandalay
  213. Metta-Vipassana Center
  214. Michigan Kachin Community
  215. MINBYUN – Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee
  216. Mindat University Student Union
  217. Minnesota Kachin Community
  218. Mizo Student Fellowship
  219. Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
  220. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
  221. Myanmar Engineers – New Zealand
  222. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organisation in Malaysia
  223. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)
  224. Myanmar Peace Bikers
  225. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  226. Myanmar Students’ Union in New Zealand
  227. Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
  228. NeT Organization
  229. Network for Human Rights Documentation (ND-Burma)
  230. Never Again Coalition
  231. New Bodhisattva Network
  232. New York Kachin Community
  233. New Zealand Doctors for NUG
  234. New Zealand Karen Association
  235. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.
  236. Ninu (Women in Action Group)
  237. No Business With Genocide
  238. North Carolina Kachin Community
  239. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
  240. Olive Organization
  241. Omaha Kachin Community
  242. Overseas Mon Association. New Zealand
  243. Pa-O Women’s Union
  244. Pa-O Youth Organization
  245. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
  246. People’s Initiative for Development Alternatives
  247. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
  248. Progressive Voice
  249. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)
  250. Rohingya Action Ireland
  251. Rohingya American Society
  252. Rohingya Arakanese Refugee Committee
  253. Rohingya Community in Netherlands
  254. Rohingya Community in Norway
  255. Rohingya Culture Centre Chicago
  256. Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
  257. Rohingya Human Rights Network (Canada)
  258. Rohingya Organisation Norway
  259. Rohingya Refugee Network
  260. Rohingya Society Malaysia
  261. Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN)
  262. Rohingya Youth Development Forum (RYDF)
  263. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand
  264. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
  265. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)
  266. Save the Salween Network
  267. SEA Junction
  268. SEGRI
  269. Shan Community (New Zealand)
  270. Shan MATA
  271. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
  272. Solidarity for Another World
  273. South Carolina Kachin Community
  274. Spring Revolution Interfaith Network
  275. Stepping Stone for Peace
  276. Students for Free Burma
  277. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
  278. Swedish Burma Committee
  279. Swedish Rohingya Association
  280. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
  281. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
  282. Tedim Youth Association (TYA)
  283. Tennessee Kachin Community
  284. Thantlang Revolutionary Campaigner
  285. Thantlang University Student Organization (TUSO)
  286. Thantlang Youth Association (TYA)
  287. The Center for Freedom of Information
  288. The Pastors Fellowship
  289. The Sound of Hope
  290. The Spring University Myanmar (SUM)
  291. Thint Myat Lo Thu Myar
  292. S. Campaign for Burma
  293. UION
  294. Union for Reform Judaism (URJ)
  295. Union of Karenni State Youth
  296. Unitarian Universalist Association
  297. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
  298. Virginia Kachin Community
  299. Washington Kachin Community
  300. West Virginia Kachin Community
  301. Women Peace Network
  302. Women’s Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar
  303. Women’s League of Burma
  304. WOREC Nepal
  305. Yeollin Seonwon
  306. Zomi Federal Union (ZFU)
  307. Zomi Siamsim Kipawlna – Myanmar
  308. Zotung Student Society (ZSS – Myanmar)

*Note: 213 organizations’ names are not disclosed at their request due to security concerns.

Myanmar_UNSC_CSO_Nov

UNSC Must Meet Regarding North-Western Burma Crisis | Burma Campaign UK

Burma Campaign UK today called on the UN Security Council to urgently convene a meeting on the escalating military attacks and troop build-up in Chin State, Sagaing Region and Magwe, North-Western Burma.

As penholder on Burma at the UN Security Council, the main responsibility for convening a meeting falls to the British government.

“The situation in North-Western Burma today has some echoes of the situation in Rakhine State in 2017 before the military offensive against the Rohingya,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “We are seeing significant deployment of troops and military equipment, and escalating indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population. There is a real danger of a much more significant military offensive targeting civilians in Chin State and neighbouring areas.”

Chin State has seen some of the strongest resistance to the military following the coup on 1st February. In recent months the military has stepped up attacks in the region, with jets bombing towns and villages as well as heavy artillery being used against civilian targets. Hundreds of people have been arrested, dozens killed and thousands of people forced to flee their homes.

On Friday 15th October the Chin Human Rights Organisation released a report, Reign of Terror, documenting numerous violations of international law by the military, including arbitrary detentions and killings, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, targeted destruction of religious buildings, forced displacement and restrictions on humanitarian access. The report is available here.

On 8th October a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement concerned about the escalating military attacks and increased military deployment, stating:

“Alarming reports indicate that there has been substantial deployment of heavy weapons and troops by the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, over the past few weeks in Kanpetlet and Hakha townships in Chin State; Kani and Monywa townships in the central Sagaing region; and Gangaw township in Magway. Two high-level commanders have also been deployed to the area and the internet has been shut down.”

They also called for international action, stating:

“We urge the international community to speak with one voice, to prevent the commission of further serious human rights violations against the people of Myanmar.”

The statement is available here.

The UN Security Council has completely failed to take any effective action in response to decades of violations of international law by the military, including genocide, or to take any effective action since the military coup. The possible prospect of another large scale military offensive against civilians must now be the catalyst for action. It will be impossible to know for sure that a large scale military offensive is planned until it begins. Waiting until an offensive begins is too late, the UN Security Council must act now to prevent the risk of an even bigger human rights and humanitarian disaster unfolding in North-Western Burma.

“The UN Security Council must not repeat the mistakes of 2017 when it ignored calls to meet and to send a strong message to the military that attacks against the Rohingya would not be tolerated,” said Anna Roberts. “Now is not the time to wait and see what happens, now is the time for the UN Security Council to act, to send a clear warning to the military that they will not get away with any large scale offensive.”

Burma Campaign UK is asking supporters to email Liz Truss MP, Foreign Secretary, calling on her to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

Reign of Terror

This document details human rights violations committed by SAC actors during August and September, 2021. Attacks on the civilian population and civilian infrastructure initiated by the State Administration Council (SAC) junta have become increasingly relentless in western Burma/Myanmar since August 2021. Junta soldiers operating in Chin State and parts of Sagaing and Magwe Regions, under the Northwestern Regional Military Command based in Monywa, have conducted a campaign of unlawful killings, arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and deliberate targeting of civilian and religious infrastructure.

Reign of Terror

Human Rights Briefing August September

Please download PDF here

Reign of Terror ReportCHRO

16 February 2021

The Honourable Scott Morrison
Prime Minister of Australia
Canberra, Australia

Dear Prime Minister Morrison,

Through the kind introduction by our very good mutual friend Senator Dean Smith, I had the privilege of meeting you at your office in Canberra in December 2018, as part of a delegation of Chin community leaders from different parts of Australia who came to speak to you to thank you in person and to talk about their situation there.

I now write to you with a deep sense of urgency and great expectation to draw your attention to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Burma/Myanmar following the military coup on 1 February 2021. The events following the coup de’tat have witnessed massive display of public opposition and bold civil defiance in the face of brute force of the Tatmadaw, which is notorious for their long history of gross human rights abuses against the peoples of Burma.

On the surface, the crises facing Burma/Myanmar now may seem like a mere power struggle or a contest of ideologies between democracy and dictatorship. Burma’s still unfinished long road ahead towards democracy is to be understood with the structural injustices and grievances long suffered by ethnic and religious minorities in historical context. Sustainable peace, stability and democracy will only take firm root when there is a federal constitutional arrangement accommodative of and agreeable to all the ethnic states in Burma. It is for this reason that strengthening democratic and civic institutions and entrenching the ideals of civilian supremacy and the rule of law must be supported and promoted in parallel with addressing the aspirations of self-governance for the ethnic nationalities within a federal constitutional framework.

The ways in which the Burmese military has responded to peaceful protests, civil disobedience campaigns and general strikes have been roundly condemned by the UN Secretary-General, the UN Human Rights Council and the larger international community. We applaud the strong statement by the Australian Foreign Minister condemning the coup and calling for the release of high-profile leaders and detainees immediately following the coup. We are also highly encouraged that Australia, through its Embassy in Myanmar, has been among the key foreign diplomatic missions in Yangon at the forefront of sounding alarms and taking a firm stand on the side of all the peoples of Myanmar.

The people of Burma cannot afford another decade of living under a military dictatorship. This has been voiced loudly not just on the streets of Burma, but in capitals around the world, including in Australia. Last week, the United States took the initiative to impose tough unilateral sanctions against the coup leaders in Burma. We believe that Australia under your leadership can and should take similar measures to lead a coordinated, effective and decisive global response to the situation in Burma by:

  • Introducing targeted economic sanctions aimed at crippling the economic infrastructures of the junta
  • Rallying international public opinion on the invocation of the UN doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and
  • Suspending and redirecting all existing Australian official bilateral aid programs towards supporting civil society organizations’ efforts to strengthen democratic and human rights development in Burma.

Yours sincerely,

Salai Bawi Lian Mang
Executive Director
Chin Human Rights Organization

PDF Download Available here: CHRO_Letter_Prime Minister Morrison

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 Feb 2021

Since 1 Feb 2021, there have been 45 politically motivated arrests of the Chin population in Rakhine and Chin States. On 1 Feb, 9 members from the democratically elected government were arrested in the middle of the night including the Chief Minister, Ministers of Immigration, Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Social Affairs and Planning and Finance. Furthermore, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the house were arrested and remain detained. Held at the tactical command in Hakha, the condition of the elected representatives remain unknown.

On 10 Feb, the junta then initiated a wave of arrests of 24 Union Election Commission (UEC) members representing all townships in Chin State and taken to military bases across the state. As protests began, a number of civilians have also been arrested for exercising their right to peaceful protest. On 4 Feb, police arrested four youths and an elderly man in Hakha who were charged under the Penal Code’s 447 specifications on causing “mischief” as they engaged in the nationwide 8 p.m. protests against the coup. As they were detained all were forced to sign confessions at the police station and were given 8-day prison sentences under the legislation.

On 9 Feb, a further 6 youths from Ann Town, Rakhine State were arrested for engaging in peaceful protests in response to the military coup. They have been charged with Art. 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law and are remanded in custody. They could face up to three years in prison under the legislation.

The detention of Myanmar/Burma’s elected leaders held incommunicado and without the right of habeas corpus is unacceptable. Furthermore, authorities should immediately end arbitrary limits on freedom of expression, information, peaceful assembly, and association which currently poses grave threats to the liberty of all citizens in the country currently protesting the actions of the military junta.

For further information please contact:
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +95 (0) 9781843341

To protect and promote human rights and democratic principles