AAPP Newsletter for June 2020

Writer Hnin Pan Eain Provides Mental Empowerment Talk

Self-Care and Mental Empowerment Talk at Two Quarantine Centers

The talks were led by AAPP’s counselor Daw Hnin Pan Eain, whilst AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw detailed the purpose of the discussions. AAPP members Ko Wana Nwel, Ko Lwin Moe Myint, Ko Khin Maung Win and Ma Tharaphi Theint Theint Tun and Secretary of Orphans Reduction and Protection Association of Rangoon Daw Yu Yu Aung and Treasure Daw Sandar Aye, and Chairwoman of North District Doctor Daw Swe Swe Aung assisted in the discussions. A total of 202 individuals quarantined were present in all talks, as were 20 volunteers.

  • 127 quarantined people and 10 health volunteers attended the Amara Hall in Rangoon Technological University
  • 75 quarantined people and 10 health volunteers attended the Bagan Hall in Rangoon Technological University

TRAINING

Basic Human Rights Training online

Conference call on basic human rights training

During the month of June, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) conducted two basic human rights courses online. Online courses #5 and #6 were held from June 3 to June 10.

A total of 10 people (5 females and 5 males ) attended Course #5. The trainees were members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Shwe Palae (Social and Economical Development Plan for Persons with Disabilities) and teachers of the Monastic Education School. The trainees were ethnic Burmese and Arakanese from Rangoon Division, Mandalay Division and Shan state. 

In Training Course #6, a total of 11 people (7 females and 4 males) attended. They were members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Chin University Students in Rakhine State (CUSR), Shwe Palae (Social and Economical Development Plan for Persons with Disabilities), Arr Marn Women Development Group, Monastic Education Development Group (MEDG), and a teacher and students from the Monastic Education School. They were ethnic Burmese, Shan, Kachin, Arakanese, Chin and Burmese-Kokang, and came from Rangoon Division, Mandalay Division, Arakan State and Shan State.

The lectures were provided by AAPP representative, Ko Wanna Nwel. The main topics discussed were the concepts and definitions of human rights, social responsibility, and accountability, and the history of human rights from the Geneva Conventions, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and contemporary humanitarian law. 

ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING

 

Meeting with Czech Ambassador to Burma

On June 24,  U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary met with the Czech ambassador to Burma at the Czech Embassy in Yangon. At the meeting, they discussed the current human rights situation in Burma and the upcoming elections. 

Meeting with International Alert 

Jana Naujoks and Ma Myat Thandar from International Alert meeting with AAPP officials

On June 29, Jana Naujoks (Country Director of International Alert) and Ma Myat Thandar Ko (Programme Manager of International Alert) visited AAPP’s Yangon office and the “Memory of the Past” exhibit where they were assisted by AAPP officials. Thereafter, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary and Kyaw Soe Win, in charge of AAPP’s Mental Health Assistant Program (MHAP) convened with the visitors to discuss AAPP’s current activities and the political and human rights situation within Burma. It was the first time AAPP received visitors since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

SUPPORT

Supporting political prisoners and former political prisoners

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) continued to provide support to political prisoners currently incarcerated and unemployed former political prisoners. In June, AAPP supported a total of 21 political prisoners from the prisons of Insein (11 prisoners), and Maubin (10 prisoners). In addition to this, AAPP supported six former political prisoners suffering from a variety of ailments, such as Hypertension-Heart Disease, Lung Operation, Pile Operation, Broken Thigh, and Backache, including one who is suffering from Kidney disease. AAPP also assisted with the funeral of two former political prisoners.

Moreover, since 2015, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has provided emergency support to former political prisoners who are in poor health due to the effects of torture in prisons and interrogation centers. In June, AAPP supported a former political prisoner who was tortured in prison. 

 

ACTIVITIES IN COVID-19 OUTBREAK

A Seminar on the Promotion of Arm reduction activities in Burma and issues related to drug use 

Promotion of harm reduction activities in Burma with U Tate Naing

During the Covid-19 period, a seminar on the promotion of harm reduction activities in Burma was undertaken online on June 22 to address issues related to drug use in Burma. The seminar was organized in partnership with the Drug Policy Change Advisory Group (DPAG), Médecins Du Monde (MdM), Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Alliance Myanmar, Transnational Institute (TNI), Medical Action Myanmar (MAM) and  Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). U Tate Naing, secretary of AAPP; Dr. Min Thu Aung from the MdM; Dr Nan Pan Ei Kham and the public representative from DPAG, Ko Tu Tu led the meeting and Aye Aye Nwe from UNAIDS helped to facilitate the discussion. 

It is unfortunate problems with drug use in Burma continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, and drug users are still facing challenges to accessing health services such as drug addiction treatment and infection prevention. To alleviate these problems, it is crucial to promote public health activities such as increased risk mitigation and the emergence of helpful progressive drug policies. The conference presented a variety of perspectives.

https://www.facebook.com/mdecinsdumonde/videos/269583010767225/

Participate in the Assistance Program for Former Political Prisoners

Participation in the Assistance Program for Former Political Prisoners

During June, former political prisoners teamed up with the Bago Region government and legislature to assist former political prisoners from 28 townships, Bago. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has been involved in supporting 466 former political prisoners in Bago Division.

https://www.facebook.com/100010364105186/videos/1149172338771559

DONATIONS TO PRISONS AND TRAINING CENTERS

AAPP Donated COVID-19 Prevention Materials for COVID-19 Pandemic in Prisons

AAPP Executive Member donating Covid-19 prevention materials to Obo Prison

On June 1, a group led by AAPP Executive Member U Soe Naing donated a total of 8500 carbolic soap, 20 boxes of Pesticide spray and 10 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol to the prisoners of  Obo Prison to prevent COVID-19 pandemic. Prison Officers received the donation and U Soe Naing explained the purposes of the donation and Ma Na Su Hlaing, Ko Thar Nge, Ko San Nyein Oo and Ko Maung Maung Oo assisted.

AAPP Donated COVID-19 Prevention Materials for COVID-19 Pandemic to Centers

AAPP Official Donating Supplies to the Women Vocational Training Center

On June 20, AAPP donated carbolic soap, hand sanitizer, and boxes of pesticide spray to the Women Vocational Training Center” located in Natmauk Street, Rangoon, and to the Women Development Centre in Thanlwin Road, to prevent further COVID-19 Outbreak.

ACTIVITIES OF THE DOCUMENTATION AND RESEARCH

Publish Monthly Chronology, Lists of Political Prisoners and AAPP Newsletter

With the aim of documenting the human rights conditions and how many sentences, arrests and charges of political activists, farmers, workers and civilians have been made in Burma, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) publishes monthly chronology and lists of political prisoners. On June 5, AAPP published its chronology and political prisoners list for May.

In addition to this, the monthly newsletter of AAPP has detailed meetings with parliamentary members, officers of the government agencies, ambassadors from international embassies and representatives of NGOs and CBOs, delivering the human rights discussions and talks and providing the training. On June 5, AAPP published our monthly newsletter.  

Compiling COVID-19 Newsletter 

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) is compiling cases related to COVID-19 Pandemic. Our COVID-19 Newsletter was published on June 5 May and has documented cases in relation to COVID-19 Pandemic with lists of arrests, charges and sentences documenting the violation of the rules related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

UN Mechanism on Human Rights and Human Rights Documentation Training

From June 22 to 26 Paing Yii Hmway, Deputy Research and Documentation and Maung Maung Naing from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) delivered the training for the UN Mechanism on Human Rights and Human Rights Documentation. AAPP’s members attended the training.

Torture Victims Interviews and Documentation

Since 2015, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has interviewed and documented the experiences of the former political prisoners who suffered from torture in prison and interrogation centers. In June, we interviewed and documented the life in prison and life after the release of a former political prisoner who was imprisoned for 4  years. From 2015 to June 2020, AAPP has interviewed and documented a total of 177 former political prisoners. 

Data Collection of Former Political Prisoners

The purpose of the data collection is to systematically keep and collect the cases of former political prisoners who were sentenced under the unjust laws. The program started in 2014. In June, we collected the profile of a former political prisoner. From 2014 to June 2020, we have documented the experiences  of 3588 former political prisoners. 

If you have any information to assist us in collecting data from former political prisoners we invite you to contact us via AAPP Facebook Page and AAPP email ([email protected]).

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

Filmed “NOT ALONE series” taken by Breakwater studio

On June 6, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary Filmed the “NOT ALONE series” by Breakwater studio

Participation in Supporting Former Political Prisoners 

On June 9, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary participated in supporting former political prisoners from Thayarwaddy Township, Bago Region.

Consultative Workshop on Analysing Human Rights Violations Report Draft and Updating Strategic Plan

Consultative workshop on analysing HRV report

On June 13 and 14, a “consultative workshop on analysing Human Rights Violations report draft and updating strategic plan” was held at Beauty Land Hotel in Bahan Township, Rangoon. Representatives from various organizations who are member of coalition group, attended the workshop: U Tate Naing, the secretary of the AAPP and U Bo Kyi, Joint Secretary of the AAPP, Aung Myo Kyaw, Head of AAPP’s Rangoon Office, Zaw Moe, AAPP’s in charge of the Department of Research and Documentation, and Deputy Foreign Affairs, GPS, HRDP, Than Lwin Citizen Empowerment, PEN Myanmar, Athan, Seagull, OMI, GW, SYNERGY, MIDO, Metta Campaign, FLC, Equality Myanmar, and ND-Burma. The participants from each of the organizations discussed the feedback, suggestions and recommendations on the draft report and upcoming activities. 

Participate in activities that require the Internet to be reopened

AAPP Participate in activity to re-open internet services

On June 21, the one-year anniversary of the internet shutdown in several Arakan State townships and Paletwa Township, Chin State, U Tate Naing, AAPP’s Secretary and U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary, and other members of AAPP took part in the movement demanding that the internet be restored as soon as possible. 

https://www.facebook.com/burmapoliticalprisoners/photos/pcb.3218253294900612/3218250258234249/

Online Discussion on “access to justice and end impunity”

Panel discussion on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On June 26, International Assistance Day for Victims of Abuse, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) and a coalition group of: Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND Burma), Women’s League of Burma (WLB), Vimutti Women Organization (VWM) held an online discussion on “access to justice and end impunity”. Aung Myo Kyaw, head of AAPP’s Rangoon office, participated in the discussion. 

https://www.facebook.com/wlbpower/videos/264070794923682/

AAPP releases a paper on International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On June 26, for the International nternational Day in Support of Victims of Torture AAPP released a paper calling on Burma to urgently sign the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT). 

The following link is available:  

https://aappb.org/bu/2020/06/%e1%80%80%e1%80%af%e1%80%9c%e1%80%9e%e1%80%99%e1%80%82%e1%80%b9%e1%80%82-%e1%80%8a%e1%80%be%e1%80%89%e1%80%ba%e1%80%b8%e1%80%95%e1%80%94%e1%80%ba%e1%80%b8%e1%80%94%e1%80%be%e1%80%ad%e1%80%95%e1%80%ba/

MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MHAP)

Online Mental Health Consultation Program during COVID-19 pandemic

AAPP’s Mental Health Assistance Program (MHAP) continued its Online Mental Health Consultation Program during COVID-19 pandemic in June, 2020. They received calls on facebook messenger and viber from several locations including Yangon, Mandalay, Myitkyina, Phakant, Magway, Bago, Thailand, and Malaysia, Singapore, Ayeyarwaddy, Nay Pyi Taw. (Yangon Region – 41%, Bago Region – 20%, Thailand – 13%, Mandalay  Region – 9%, Kayin State – 3%, Ayeyarwaddy – 3%, Singapore – 2% , Nay Pyi Taw – 2% and rest of places were 1% each.) 

We received 43 calls from a variety of quarantine centers in this month. 

The people who called our Online Mental Health Consultation Program were also of different ages and occupations, varying from government office staff, to women led household, NGO staff, business peoples, those in quarantine centers, volunteers from quarantine centers, and people living with HIV (PLHIV). In June 2020, MHAP provided coping with stress skills to 100 males (age range from 18 to 78) and 99 females (age range from 18 to 63). 

They have following symptoms:

  • Constantly being fearful and worrying about their own health and the health of their loved ones 
  • Feeling emotional and upset constantly
  • Feeling nervous and insecure
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns 
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating 
  • Being short-tempered or angry easily  
  • Worrying too much about becoming infected, especially those people living with HIV
  • Worrying about to get arrested consistently due to the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Feelings of sadness and depression 
  • A loss of interest in things normally passionate about.
  • Feeling lonely 

Participated in panel discussion 

MHAP trainer Ko Htin Aung participating in a webinar

MHAP’s trainer Ko Htin Aung participated in “COVID-19, Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing for youth”, a webinar series hosted by Global Platform Myanmar on the 6th of June, 2020.

https://web.facebook.com/globalplatformmyanmar/videos/948944755551042/?_rdc=1&_rdr

On June 26, MHAP’s clinical supervisor Than Than Htay also participated in “Support Don’t Punish” social media campaign – 2020, which was hosted by Alliance Myanmar. 

Daw Than Than Htay participating in a social media campaign on June 26

https://www.facebook.com/MyanmarSupportDontPunish/videos/902622343590519/

Providing online training of Stress management, Basic Coping Skills and Self-care 

AAPP’s trainer Ko Htin Aung provided online training of Stress management, Basic Coping Skills and Selfcare.

From the 22 to 26 of June, AAPP’s trainer Htin Aung provided online training for stress management, basic coping skills and self-care to the participants of PITCH partners of Alliance Myanmar who are doing online counselling. 

Publish Videos about coping with stress during COVID-19 pandemic 

AAPP’s trainer, Htin Aung, has posted a video about coping with stress during COVID-19 pandemic online. The following links 

https://www.facebook.com/634323476905777/posts/1199829173688535/https://www.facebook.com/634323476905777/posts/1205377536467032/https://www.facebook.com/634323476905777/posts/1215251308812988/

INTERVIEWS

 

Interview about prison conditions

On June 3, U Tate Naing, the secretary of the Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) spoke with the media about the prison situation.

 

Interview with MCN TV  News

On June 6, U Tate Naing, AAPP’s Secretary, was interviewed by MCN TV News in relation to actions taken against people who violated the new rules of COVID-19 Pandemic in May. 

The following video file is available:

https://www.mcntv.biz/streamizshow/07/06/2020/153031/?fbclid=IwAR15wjDI1Hc-93Y1fifd7HdAD80bSTJy7p7HtBdLITw5bowcMVhZ1BSqH4E   

 

AAPP’s Rangoon Office Chief Interviewed about AAPPs Monthly Report (May)

On June 6, U Aung Myo Kyaw, AAPP’s Rangoon Office Chief, spoke with the Development Media Group (DMG) about AAPP’s Monthly Report (May). In the interview, Aung Myo Kyaw said that the civil war urgently needed to be ended and domestic peace to be resolved without armed conflict. 

The following link is available: 

https://www.facebook.com/dmgnewsagency/videos/2612718428967571

 

Interview about prosecutions related to COVID-19 Pandemic

On June 6,  Zaw Moe, AAPP’s in charge of the Department of Research and Documentation, and Deputy Foreign Affairs spoke with the Mizzima news media about prosecutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In the interview, Zaw Moe said that the prison population is too overcrowded, and that sentences related to the case of COVID-19 will only exacerbate the situation, putting those who come from outside at risk of contracting the virus. Therefore, if a person is not to be put to death, he should be punished in another way instead of being sentenced, Zaw Moe added. 

The following link is available: 

https://www.facebook.com/MizzimaDaily/videos/347220072925657/?t=50

 

Interview on the Assistance Program for Former Political Prisoners

On June 8, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary  spoke with Myanmar Times media about the Assistance Program for Former Political Prisoners. In the interview, U Bo Kyi said that he participated in the program and provided basic food items that cost about 15,000 Kyat to 1,200 former political prisoners during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://myanmar.mmtimes.com/news/140041.html

 

Interview about AAPPs Monthly Report (May)

On June 8, U Tate Naing, the secretary of the AAPP spoke with 7 Days News media about AAPP’s Monthly Report (May). In that interview, U Tate Naing said that there was huge instability in Arakan State and there was a great deal of violence and human rights abuses, thus, the government needs to act urgently. The following link is available: 

https://7day.news/detail?id=188322

 

Interview on the release of political prisoners before the end of the term of government

On June 8, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary spoke with Radio Free Asia (RFA) media about the release of political prisoners before the end of this government’s term. In the interview, U Bo Kyi stated that if real democracy is to be practiced basic human rights for all people should be accessible. It would not be difficult to justify a truly democratic government if people were not arrested for exercising basic human rights. 

https://www.facebook.com/rfaburmese/videos/2955825891133803

 

Interview about the provision of health supplies for political prisoners

On June 10, U Tate Naing, the secretary of the AAPP spoke with the One News media about providing health supplies for political prisoners. In the interview, U Tate Naing said that there are about 100,000 prisoners across the country and that AAPP provides medical supplies to nearly 20,000 inmates.

https://www.onenewsmyanmar.com/video/11932

 

Interview about the sentences of Peacock Generation 

On June 11, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary spoke with Radio Free Asia (RFA) about the sentences handed down for the Peacock Generation grou. In the interview, U Bo Kyi said that the government should take a stand for freedom of expression in order to maintain its right and that those young individuals should be released.

The following link is available:

https://www.rfa.org/burmese/news/peacock-generations-members-court-06122020062740.html?searchterm:utf8:ustring=%20%E1%80%98%E1%80%AD%E1%80%AF%E1%80%80%E1%80%BC%E1%80%8A%E1%80%BA

 

Interview on continued arrests of people protesting in accordance with the rights of citizens

On June 12, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary spoke with the Voice of America (Burma) about the continued arrests of people protesting in accordance with their supposed rights as citizens. Viewing freedom of expression as a crime questions the country’s democratic norms under the civilian government, said U Bo Kyi.

The following is available:

https://burmese.voanews.com/a/myanmar-political-prisoner-/5460722.html?fbclid=IwAR1PXq3SQD-rgfCzxY2cu2lcxduqpsxwGM93WIr-veo_BLBhioAL253Mv9E

Interview on Human Rights Abuses in Arakan State

On June 12, U Tate Naing, the secretary of the AAPP spoke with Myanmar Channel News TV about human rights abuse in Arakan State. In the interview, U Tate Naing said that Arakan people needed to be protected from human rights abuses. In addition to this he called on the Government to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as soon as possible to establish safeguards against human rights abuses. The following links are available:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYFqulG9EoU&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0NuuYH51XYdTmDoEcqXJ25lnodD6Le1JGzleodhQrWN_DWTMRG2gMN_jg 

https://bit.ly/2YwJTOE  

Interview for WNYC Radio Podcasts

On June 15, U Bo Kyi, AAPP’s Joint Secretary spoke with New York Public Radio (WNYC) for their podcast. In the interview, U Bo Kyi talked about the importance of being productive while staying at home during COVID-19 pandemic, based on his experiences in prison.  

https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/snapjudgment/episodes/letters-lockdown-sarajevo-yangon-new-orleans-san-francisco?fbclid=IwAR13ex-TKuFRIqVzq6HbUVS8x92BLoIKszA1UD83AYk2MXj5unUHC3nOIeQ

Interview about the 2020 election

On June 21, U Tate Naing, secretary of the AAPP spoke with 7 Days News media about the 2020 election. In the interview, U Tate Naing said that parties and representatives who can provide assurances to safeguarding health, education, and business, should be selected and it is important to vote carefully and effectively. 

The following links is also available:

https://7day.news/detail?id=189754

Interview about drafting of document for Burma to sign the Convention Against Torture Treaty

U Tate Naing, the secretary of the AAPP spoke with the 7 Days News media about the drafting of a document urging the government and parliament to sign the Convention Against Torture Treaty. In the interview, U Tate Naing said he would hold talks with parliamentarians who are interested in the document. 

The following link is avaliable: 

https://7day.news/detail?id=189613

 

For more information:       Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)

U Tate Naing (Secretary) +95(0) 9428 023 828

U Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary) +95(0)42530 8840

U Aung Myo Kyaw (In-Charge of AAPP Yangon Office) + 95 (0)42811 7348

U Kyaw Soe Win (In-charge of the Mental Health Assistance Program)+95(0) 977 433 6760