SUMMARY OF THE CURRENT SITUATION
During October 34 political activists were indicted, of which 2 are human rights defenders who at the time of writing remained in detention. 5 political activists were sentenced; 3 were given prison sentences and 2 paid a fine. The month also saw the release of 56 political prisoners. In addition, 3 political prisoners were in poor health. AAPP has recently been made aware of 79 farmers involved in the “plowing protests” in Pyin- Oo- LwinTsp having been indicted in February 2013, under sections 442 and 447 for trespassing.
MONTH IN REVIEW
AAPP welcomes the release of the 56 political prisoners this month. However it is important to recognize the limitations of this latest release. Despite their supposed freedom, the conditions attached to their release still impose great restrictions on their lives. These conditions make the chances of successful readjustment to civilian life very difficult for them formers political prisoners. Although AAPP is supportive of any political prisoners released from jail, the removal of conditions attached to political prisoner releases is an essential step towards national reconciliation and political freedom.
On the 66th anniversary of Martyr's Day (July 19, 2013) Ko Thein Min Tun left a flower garland in front of the General Aung San statue downtown, in PromeTsp, Pegu Division. This was deemed against the Regional law, section 188, he was indicted under section 188 on July 31, 2013. Consequently, on October 9, 2013, he was sentenced to 7 days imprisonment or 200 Kyat fine under section 188, at PromeTsp court. KoThein Min Tunpaid the 200 Kyat fine but expressed his deep concern towards the outcome of the sentence. This comes as a reminder that while the country looks to its future the practice of using arbitrary laws in curtailing its citizens’ civil and political liberties is still very much in place. (October 9, 2013 The Voice Weekly Facebook post)
On October 17, 2013 representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) met with senior AAPP staff to exchange knowledge on the two organizations’ work on counseling political prisoners as well as discuss future collaboration between the ICRC and the AAPP under the Mental Health Assistance Program (AAPP-MHAP) on providing mental health counseling to former political prisoners. (October 17, 2013 AAPPB).
The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) released a statement on October 5 warning against abolishing the 2008 Constitution and drafting a new one as it would severely jeopardize the state and its people. The party’s official stance is to amend the existing constitution depending on time and circumstances. The statement was issued a week after Burma’s main opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD) announced its planned collaboration with ethnic parties in seeking the public’s opinion on whether to amend or replace the constitution.(October 7, 2013 Irrawaddy)(October 7, 2013 Eleven)
For more information:
Tate Naing (Secretary): +66 (0) 81 287 8751
+95(0) 94280 23828
Bo Kyi (Joint-Secretary): +95 (0) 94 2530 8840
+66(0) 81 9628 713