Annual Report 2010
Summary of 2010
As of 31 December 2010, there were 2189 political prisoners in Burma. This is an overall increase of 12 in comparison to last year’s figure of 2,177. In 2010, 53 political prisoners were arrested and 61 were released. The AAPP also received information about activists who were arrested and released before 2010, and this retrospective information explains why there is actually an overall increase of 12 this year.
2010 Trend Analysis
In 2010, 53 political prisoners were arrested, 66 activists were sentenced, 61 were released, and 52 prisoners were transferred. At least 59 political prisoners reported new health problems in 2010, bringing the total number of political prisoners in poor health to at least 142, as of 31 December 2010.
The use of torture and inhumane treatment of political prisoners continued throughout 2010, with numerous accounts of torture, abuse, prisoners placed in solitary confinement, denied adequate medical treatment and transferred to remote prisons far from their families. The death of two political prisoners, this year, highlights the toll these conditions take on political prisoners and the devastating consequences. Dire prison conditions coupled with the denial of medical treatment led to the death of human rights activist, Ko Kyaw Soe, in May and Buddhist monk, U Naymeinda, in December. AAPP has documented 146 cases of political prisoners who died in Burma’s prisons as a direct result of torture, inhumane prison conditions: lack of nutritious food and the denial of medical care. If such treatment continues, the lives of the 142 sick political prisoners are at stake.
On 7 November 2010 the military regime held the first elections in Burma in 20 years. The elections should have been cause for celebration; instead the pre‐election period, the Election Day itself, and the post election period were marred by widespread political repression and human rights abuses, both in the pre‐election period as well as on the day. It came as no surprise that the military backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won the carefully orchestrated elections by a huge majority, gaining over 76% of the parliamentary seats. These elections presented an opportunity for Burma to make meaningful human rights changes on its own terms, and with the world watching. These changes never happened.