Annual Report 2011
Summary of 2011
As of 31 December 2011 there were 1,5721 political prisoners in Burma. This is an overall decrease of 617 in comparison to last year’s figure of 2,189. In 2011, 13 political prisoners were arrested and 364 were released. In May and October of 2011 there were 2 presidential orders that facilitated the release of 73 and 247 political prisoners respectively.
The quasi civilian U Thein Sein regime, sworn into power through fundamentally flawed elections, continued to deny the existence of political prisoners. This denial remained official state policy and was iterated at the highest levels of state authority, including by president U Thein Sein. The official dissolution of military power, occurring on 30 March with the first convening of Parliament, did not change Burma’s decades-long tradition of being highly resistant to prison transparency. There is a complete lack of public prison records, and releases or arrests of an individual are rarely announced. Due to the secrecy enshrouding Burma’s prison complex, the number of political prisoners behind bars or in detention centers is believed to be much higher.
There were 2 presidential orders in the year 2011 that released a limited number of political prisoners. Both of the releases, however, fell short of AAPP’s minimum thresholds for an adequate amnesty. Political prisoners were not released with recognition of their political status, some were released conditionally, and with an active criminal record.