Amid unprecedented public outrage over its handling of a child abuse case, Myanmar's National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) is facing scrutiny from the government after the office of President U-tin Chaw (Htin Kyaw) said it was reviewing its actions. Lawyers, activists and politicians are calling for commission members to stand down after they allegedly failed in their duty when told about the abuse of two girls employed at a tailor shop in Yangon, the commercial capital. The girls, aged 16 and 17, told reporters they were held against their will for five years and denied wages. Photographs showed they had suffered burns and their arms were lined with scars from knife wounds.
The office of President Htin Kyaw - who was nominated by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi following her party's election victory in November - said it was monitoring the case. The commission is the main organisation addressing the rights abuses that monitoring groups still frequently report in Myanmar. Suu Kyi addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday for the first time as the country's de facto leader, affirming her government's "faith in fundamental human rights". The case has also drawn criticism of the police, who failed to act for some three months after a reporter tipped them off about the case, the commission has said. When the reporter went to the commission, its response was to negotiate a financial settlement, allowing the suspected abusers to escape prosecution by paying about $4,000 to the victims and their families. (Source: Reuters)