On January 2, 2019, four students were arrested as they engaged in a nonviolent protest outside the gates of Yadanapon University, in Amarapura, within the Mandalay Region of Myanmar.
The students, Ko Ye Lin Aung, Ko Phone Myint Kyaw, Ko Myo Chit Aung and Ko Nay Win Kyaw, were protesting what they said was insufficient security and facilities care on campus. According to the students, the university has an enrollment of 25,000 students and 700 faculty, but employs only 30 security and cleaning staff.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of students in apparent retaliation for their non-violent exercise of the rights to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly on campus—conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. State authorities have a responsibility to refrain from interfering with the rights to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, so long as they are exercised peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, arbitrary arrests of nonviolent student protesters undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.