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4 human rights officials resign over Ava Tailor abuse case

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission held a press conference last year to defend themselves on charges of neglecting their duty in a case involving the alleged torture and abuse of minors. (PHOTO: DVB)

Four Burmese human rights officials have resigned following intense criticism of their handling of a high-profile case in Rangoon where two young maids were allegedly tortured and abused by their employers.

According to a President’s Office announcement on Thursday, Zaw Win, Thar Nyan, Khin Than Nwe and Mya Mya have submitted their resignations from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC).

The MNHRC found itself in hot water in September for brokering a deal between a family business – Ava Tailor in downtown Rangoon – and the two maids they allegedly abused for years. Mediating the case, the human rights officials allowed the family to settle the case for just 5 million kyat (US$4,000) in compensation to the two teenagers.

At the end of last month, the Burmese parliament passed a motion calling for the government to dismiss the MNHRC members who handled the case.

The elder of the two alleged victims, San Kay Khine, who is now 17, claimed that she had all of her fingers and one arm broken for talking back to the family, and said they were often denied food and water. She and her colleague Thazin, now 16, had been employed by the owners of the garment shop since 2012, but said they hadn’t been paid since 2014.

Meanwhile, a court hearing scheduled for today for the six defendants – all members of the family tailoring business in Rangoon – has been postponed until 13 October.

DVB has learned that the six were told by the presiding judge that they would each need to have their own lawyer, because this is such a “big” case.