What is AAPP?
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), otherwise known as AAPP, is a human rights organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand, with recently opened offices in Rangoon and Mandalay, Burma. AAPP advocates for the release of all remaining political prisoners in Burma and for the improvement of their quality of life during and after incarceration. AAPP has developed rehabilitation and assistance programs for those political activists who have been released while continuing to document the ongoing imprisonment of political activists in Burma.
As long as political prisoners exist inside Burma, Burma will not be free. They represent the struggle for democracy, human rights, equality and freedom for the people of Burma. This makes the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners an integral part of Burma’s drive for national reconciliation.
History of AAPP
AAPP was founded on March 23, 2000, the 11th anniversary of the arrest of Min Ko Naing, a student leader and prominent figure during the 1988 uprising who spent nineteen years in prison. From 2000 to the present day, AAPP has based its headquarters in Mae Sot, Thailand, due to the exile of most AAPP team members. AAPP has successfully adapted to the on-going political transformations within Burma. Since 2012, Burma has released a great number of political prisoners and most of the former political prisoners involved with AAPP have now been removed from the Burmese government’s blacklist, which has allowed us to open two more AAPP offices within Burma, one in Rangoon and the other in Mandalay. As such, AAPP saw an opportunity to further develop efficient nation-wide assistance programs in order to meet the needs of those released.
From its formation on January 2013, AAPP was a key member of the Committee for Scrutinizing the Remaining Political Prisoners (CSRPP) until it was disbanded at the beginning of 2015. Despite AAPP’s dedication and central role in the CSRPP, the government chose to exclude AAPP from the new body, the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee, formed in January 2015. AAPP continues to campaign for the release of all remaining political prisoners. In 2017, despite promises of the NLD to release all remaining political prisoners, AAPP holds records of sentenced and incarcerated political prisoners, and hundreds of individuals awaiting trial for politically motivated actions.
AAPP’s core activities include:
- advocating for the release of all remaining political prisoners
- providing basic necessities, such as food and medicine, to remaining political prisoners
- developing a Mental Health Assistance Program (MHAP) and providing educational and vocational opportunities to former and current political prisoners and their families through the Educational and Vocational Assistance Programs
- documenting and reporting on human rights abuses carried out against political prisoners and pro-democracy activists
- securing support for current and former political prisoners from international governments and organizations through domestic and international advocacy and lobbying
AAPP is widely recognized as a reliable and credible source of information on Burmese political prisoner issues by the United Nations, foreign governments, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and respected media outlets around the world.