EarthRights International (ERI) condemns the senseless killing of leading Myanmar constitutional lawyer U Ko Ni, who was fatally shot at point blank range at Yangon International Airport this week. He was returning from a government-organized trip to Indonesia.  A taxi driver, U Nay Win, who gave chase to the assailant was also killed.

U Ko Ni was a legal advisor to the National League for Democracy (NLD) and State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and has worked tirelessly for democratic reform and human rights in Myanmar for many years.  His death is a devastating loss for Myanmar and the struggle for human rights and democracy.

He was widely respected in Myanmar and abroad as a constitutional lawyer and a voice of unity and progress. He was outspoken in his calls for reforming the military-drafted constitution and has been credited with identifying the legal loophole that allowed Aung San Suu Kyi to become State Counselor. He was also a leading Muslim voice in Buddhist-majority Myanmar that spoke out powerfully in support of minority rights

ERI calls for a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing which appears to have been a targeted assassination and has grave implications for human rights defenders in Myanmar.  The authorities must hold those responsible to account and show that attacks like this will not be accepted.  They must ensure that there is justice for U Ko Ni and U Nay Win and that human rights defenders can work without fear of violence.

Photo CC Clay Gilliland

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