World

In Myanmar, government's 'midnight inspections' reflect military's continued grip on power

  • In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, residents gather at the administration office of Yarza Thinggyan ward to register their family household list in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, residents gather at the administration office of Yarza Thinggyan ward to register their family household list in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, administration officers of Yarza Thinggyan ward display a family household register-book to The Associated Press journalists in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo, administration officers of Yarza Thinggyan ward display a family household register-book to The Associated Press journalists in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this March 4, 2015 photo, administration officers of Yarza Thinggyan ward write records in family household registers in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    In this March 4, 2015 photo, administration officers of Yarza Thinggyan ward write records in family household registers in Dala, suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar. In Myanmar a nearly a century old law empowers the state to decide what guests, if any, a family may have in their own home. Commonly referred as “midnight inspections” because they mostly occur when families sleeping, are still being employed and used to suppress dissent, and the legal architecture that facilitates them are part of a mountain of legislation, much of it in the constitution, illustrating just how much power the military legally retains despite the country’s much-touted transition from junta rule. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

An international human-rights group is calling on Myanmar to end one of its many legal remnants of authoritarian rule: a law empowering the state to inspect people's homes in the dead of night.

In a report called "Midnight Intrusions" that will be released Thursday, Bangkok-based Fortify Rights is urging Myanmar's government to dismantle the law.

Such inspections have declined dramatically since Myanmar's former military junta ceded power to a nominally civilian government in 2011. But the law is still being employed to suppress dissent, most recently with the detention of several people believed linked to a student movement whose protests this month against a new education law were crushed by police.