SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: April 21, 2021

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Institution(s):Myitkyina University

Region & Country:Southeastern Asia | Myanmar (Burma)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 21, 2021, soldiers and police arrested Myo Htet Naing Linn, interim chair of the student union at Myitkyina University, apparently as part of a crackdown on anti-coup protests.

Students, professionals, and members of civil society organized protests across Myanmar in response to a military coup on February 1, 2021. University students and faculty have been regular fixtures in the protests.

Myo Htet Naing Linn, a second-year student, reportedly organized protests at Myitkyina University. He was chair of the student union for two months leading up to his arrest.

Soldiers and police arrested Myo Htet Naing Linn in the early morning hours at his home. It is unclear whether he has been charged.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of a student for their nonviolent exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Government authorities and state security forces have a responsibility to refrain from restricting or retaliating against nonviolent exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate individual, arrests intended to restrict student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED).