Burmese Muslim lawyer and Rohingya advocate murdered at airport

Burmese Muslim lawyer and Rohingya advocate murdered at airport
U Ko Ni had worked to introduce legislation against hate crimes and hate speech in a country where on-going genocide against the country's Muslims has seen thousands killed.
2 min read
29 January, 2017
U Ko Ni was a legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy [Twitter/HRW]
A prominent Burmese lawyer who worked on human rights cases related to Myanmar's Muslims was murdered at Yangon Airport on Sunday.

U Ko Ni was standing in the airport building when he was shot twice by a 53-year-old assailant.

A taxi driver was also shot dead while pursuing the gunman - who was later arrested - while another seven people are reported injured.

Ko Ni, a rare public voice in favour of the country's Muslim population, was a Muslim legal advisor to the governing party of Burma, the National League for Democracy.

He had just returned from a one-week fact-finding mission to Indonesia.

An expert on constitutional issues, Ko Ni had devoted much of his work to drafting laws that help combat hate speech and discrimination.

A spokesperson for the government said that U Pe Myint, the deputy minister for home affairs - who originates from the Muslim-majority Rakhine province - was also at the airport.

According to a police report, the alleged gunman is a man called Kyi Lin from Mandalay.

There are around one million Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar and the UN has reported that the government are committing a genocide against the ethnic minority.

John McKissick of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said that government soldiers were "killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river" into Bangladesh.