Yu Lwin Aung, right, of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, comforts Khine Hnin Wai, a 13-year-old domestic helper who has accused her employers of beating and scalding her. (Photo: Htet Khaung Linn/Myanmar Now)
Myanmar’s disgraced human rights commission takes up new case of maid abuse
By Htet Khaung Linn (Myanmar Now)
Dagon Seikkan, Yangon — Months after a maid abuse scandal prompted some of its members to resign, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission is being drawn into the case of a 13-year-old domestic helper who has accused her employers of beating and scalding her.
Yu Lwin Aung, an official with the Complaint Letters Scrutinizing Committee of the commission, said the judge in the case is seeking the advice of a government-appointed legal officer over the child abuse charges filed by the Department of Social Welfare against the couple accused of mistreating the teenager.
The rights commission is also working with the police, he added.
Police say the victim, identified as Khine Hnin Wai, started working for Tun Tun and Myat Noe Thu in early May at their home in Yangon’s Dagon Seikkan township.
Mere weeks into the proposed contract, the neighbors informed the police of suspected abuse, and the couple was quickly arrested.
What happened next is the source of some controversy.
The couple was granted bail earlier this month after a preliminary medical report said the girl’s injuries were not serious. But the final report contradicted those findings.
“Police cannot overrule the medical statement and legal findings. The preliminary medical statement mentioned the injuries were not very serious. So we released the defendants on bail,” said police officer Thein Soe at Dagon Seikkan police station.
The victim has returned to school and and is receiving counseling and vocational training.
The human rights commission is still emerging from a massive scandal last year that caused four of its members to resign after it emerged they had helped broker payments between suspected abusers of two young housemaids and their families.
First exposed by Myanmar Now, the commission’s actions stirred widespread public anger and raised scrutiny on the treatment of domestic maids.