AAPP Urges the International Community to Keep the Spotlight on Burma’s 2,203 Other Political Prisoners (2010)
Date: November 23, 2010
Ten days after the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners urges the international community to keep the spotlight on Burma’s 2,203 political prisoners who remain in prison. The international community must unite in a concerted effort to campaign for the release of all political prisoners.
“The release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi is not enough. The military regime must now release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally”, said Bo Kyi, Joint-Secretary of Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), known as AAPP.
The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) did not release political prisoners under a general amnesty in the weeks before the elections, as some speculated. Instead, in the lead up to the elections, the number of political prisoners grew. There have been no political prisoner releases this month, other than Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her two live in companions, NLD members Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, who were under house arrest with her.
If the regime is genuinely interested in change, it must release all of those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their basic political and civil rights and begin an inclusive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and leaders of the ethnic nationalities. As Daw Suu has said, “I will continue to work for national reconciliation among the people…There is no one that I cannot work or talk with; if there is a will to work together, it can be done. If there is a will to talk to one another, it can be done. I will take this path.”
Many key political leaders who have vital roles to play in moving the country towards a genuine democratic transition remain in prison, such as such as Shan politician, U Khun Htun Oo. Other national figures, like 1988 student leader Min Ko Naing, are widely admired and respected and can help unite people behind a process of national reconciliation. Without their freedom, Burma will not move towards democracy.
“The elections may be over and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi released, but for more than 2,200 political prisoners still in prison nothing has changed. We must not let the spotlight on Burma fade”, said Bo Kyi.
Torture and inhumane treatment remains the norm in Burma’s places of detention. The regime has shown no signs of ending the practice of torture and moving towards accountability and justice.
Political cases are characterized by an absence of due process of law. Typically, political detainees receive no or limited legal representation, they are subjected to excessive periods of incommunicado detention and brutal torture. The use of confessions extracted under torture is commonplace in the ‘trials’ of political prisoners.
“The international community must now confront Burma over its past and current practice of torture and the culture of abuse and brutality that the plagues the custodial system”, Bo Kyi said.
“More than 30 of Burma’s current political prisoners have already spent the past 20 years in prison. It is imperative that the international community, including the UN and regional actors, works together to ensure these prisoners do not spend another 20 years behind bars”, said Bo Kyi.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
For more information –
Tate Naing (Secretary): +66 (0) 812 878 751
Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary); +66 (0) 819 628 713