AAPP monthly Newsletter March 2018
Human Rights, Documentation of Human Rights Violations, and Transitional Justice Training Held in Karen and Shan States
As a part of the series of regular Human Rights, Documentation of Human Rights Violations, and Transitional Justice Training, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) held two long trainings in the month of March. A 11-day training from March 6-16 was organized in Kyone Doe Town, Karen State and a 12-day training from March 17-28 was held in Maing Young Township, Northern Shan State.
In Kyone Doe Town, the Training was administered by AAPP’s Human Rights Trainer, Ko Saw Than Hlaing, and Human Rights, Human Rights Documentation, and Transitional Justice Trainer, Ko Kyaw Oo. A total of 25 people (10 women and 15 men) participated in the training. Participants included people of Karen, Burmese and Shan backgrounds, as well as members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) youth organization, members of Karen Youth Development Group (KYDG), Karen Youth, and members of Twelet Welfare Group. In Karen State, the training focused on issues of forced labor, poor rule of law, and forced recruitment by ethnic armed groups due to the prevalence of this human rights abuses in this area.
In Maing Young Township, the training was administered by AAPP’s Human Rights Trainer Ko Aung Thein Kyi, and Human Rights Documentation and Transitional Justice Trainer Ko Sai Myint Thu. A total of 17 people (3 women and 14 men) participated in the training. Participants were members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and the Kyaing Ton Youth Center. Students, pastors and staff from the Ward administration office also attended. Attendees are of Lahu, Akha, Shan and Shan-Lahu backgrounds. In this training the trainers focused on land confiscation, restriction on movement, arbitrarily arrests and torture as Maing Young Township has faced many of these issues in recent years.
These training served as capacity building measures, aiming to encourage and inform the participants about democratic principles.
Human Rights and Good Governance Discussion
In March, AAPP held a total of nine discussions about human rights and good governance for village and ward administrators in Monyo, Tharyarwaddy, Oakpo, Minhla, Letpadan, Nattalin, Phy and Gyobingauk Townships in Bago Division. A discussion was held for the National League for Democracy (NLD) youth organization in Phy Township. The discussion and the opening speech was delivered by township officials including the following:
Bago Parliament Representative, U Saw Thura Aung
Monyo Township Administrator, U Tin Oo Kyaw
Zigone Township Administrator, U Nyi Nyi Aung,
Oakpo Township Administrator, U Kyaw Zin Oo, and
Nattalin Township Administrator, U Zay Wanna Hlaing
Ko Aung Myo Kyaw, Ko Wanna Nwe and Ko Myo Htut Aung, explained the purpose of the discussion.
Ko Wanna Nwe, and Ko Kyaw Oo then addressed issues regarding human rights awareness, including the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Ko Aung Myo Kyaw and Ko Wanna Nwe spoke about good governance.
There were a total of 697 attendees. Participants included village and ward administrators and members of the NLD youth organization. At the end of the discussion, AAPP distributed UDHR pamphlets and posters, papers describing important factors of the good governance system, and Chapter Four of the Ward and Village Tract Administration By-Laws.
ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING
Conference on Justice Sector Coordination for Rule of Law
From March 7 to March 8, Ko Zaw Moe, in charge of the Documentation and Research Department and Deputy in Charge of Foreign Affairs at the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), attended the Conference on Justice Sector Coordination for Rule of Law. It was held by the Coordinating Body for Rule of Law Centres and Justice Sector Affairs in MICC – II Hall in Nay Pyi Taw. In the session “Access to Justice and Legal Aid” they discussed access to justice for prisoners who are incarcerated and reviewed existing law and customary law.
Prison Reform Workshop
From March 8 to March 9, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) organized a Prison Reform Workshop at Max Hotel in Nay Pyi Taw. The MNHRC chairman gave an opening speech and the Secretary of AAPP, Ko Tate Naing, explained the purpose of the workshop. MNHRC Member U Yu Lwin Aung spoke about the experiences of inmates in the prisons they investigated. The Joint Secretary of AAPP, Ko Bo Kyi, discussed recommendations for prison reform. A total of 39 people attended, including the following offices, members, and representative: the Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues of Union Parliament, Chairmen and members of some of the Union Parliament Affairs Committee, Parliament Representatives, Attorney General’s Office, Office of the Chief Justice, Ministry of Health and Sports, Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, the Chairman and members of the MNHRC, and AAPP representatives attended the workshop.
MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MHAP)
Counseling Services for Clients
In March, AAPP-MHAP counselors from Rangoon, Mandalay and Bago provided CETA mental health counseling services for former political prisoners,their family members, and other vulnerable population in these areas. A counselor from Magwe Region is providing a Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) mental health counseling services for HIV patients in Nat Mauk and Taung Twin Gyi in Magwe Region.
Each weekend in March, four female counselors went to the Women’s Vocational Training Center in Rangoon. Six clients completed their counseling sessions, and seven clients are continuing to receive counseling. A female supervisor and three female counselors went to the Women’s Development Center in Rangoon to provide mental health counseling services. This month four clients completed their counseling sessions and another six clients are continuing their sessions.
Every Monday in March, one supervisor and five Counselors went to Hnget Aw Sann Youth Training Center (a juvenile prison) to provide CETA mental health counseling services. 11 clients will continue counseling sessions. In March, AAPP-MHAP Mae Sot team provided CETA mental health counseling services for the migrant population, victims of human trafficking, sex workers, and victims of the ongoing conflicts in Burma. Three counselors met with 15 Burmese migrants (8 women and 7 men) to deliver mental health assistance. Five female and 5 male Burmese migrant clients finished their counseling.
Attended 30th anniversary memorial for Phone Maw and Soe Naing
On March 13, the 30th anniversary memorial for Phone Maw and Soe Naing was held at Rangoon Institute of Technology. Those arrested in 1990 for holding a two-year anniversary memorial event for Phone Maw, including Kyaw Soe from AAPP, attended the ceremony to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of their deaths.
The18th Anniversary of AAPP and Rangoon Museum Opening
On March 23, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) held a ceremony commemorating the 18th Anniversary of the organization; AAPP staff reopened the museum with a new exhibit entitled “The Memory of the Past – Photo Exhibition”. Rangoon Office In-Charge Aung Myo Kyaw was a Master of Ceremony, AAPP Secretary Tate Naing gave an opening speech and AAPP Mental Health Assistance Program Chief Kyaw Soe Win explained AAPP’s activities. A New Political Party Forum members Ko Ko Gyi and Min Zayya, Min Ko Naing from 88 Peace and Open Society, and former female political prisoner Doctor Toe Toe Tin delivered speeches. AAPP Joint Secretary Bo Kyi thanked attendees and supporters as well. Diplomats, ambassadors Parliament representatives, international non-governmental organization officials, former political prisoners, and guests attended the opening event, held from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.