Ending Guest Registration and Household Inspections in Myanmar
Recent political and economic reforms in Myanmar have led to greater freedoms and unprecedented optimism for the country’s future. However, in communities throughout Myanmar, authorities continue to apply repressive laws and employ practices common under previous military regimes. The Ward or Village Tract Administration Law of 2012 requires all residents of Myanmar to report the identity of overnight houseguests to government officials serving as ward and village tract administrators. Myanmar authorities enforce the law by conducting periodic household inspections, ostensibly to check for unregistered visitors.
Midnight Intrusions: Ending Guest Registration and Household Inspections in Myanmar is based on interviews with more than 90 residents in Myanmar. It finds that provisions of the Ward or Village Tract Administration Law related to the guest registration requirement and its enforcement impinge on various human rights, including the right to privacy and rights to freedom of movement, residency, and association. The guest registration requirement represents a systematic and nationwide breach of privacy, giving the government access to troves of personal data from communities across the country. Evidence collected by Fortify Rights also suggests that the law is particularly enforced against low-income communities, individuals working with civil society organizations, and political activists.
The government of Myanmar should act immediately to abolish the guest registration requirement and end the practice of invasive household inspections.