AUGUST NEWSLETTER 2020

August Newsletter (english)

TALKS

Self-Care and Mental Empowerment Talk at 11 Quarantine Centers

In August, AAPP has provided self-care and mental empowerment talks at quarantine centers (COVID-19 Infectious Disease Control Center) in Ayeyarwady, Bago and Rangoon Divisions to help reduce the stress of residents, health workers & volunteers, and in order to help them be more aware of COVID-19 prevention techniques. 

The talks were led by AAPP’s counselor Daw Hnin Pan Eain and AAPP member Ko Than Htike Win who talked about the purpose of the talks. AAPP members Ko Lwin Moe Myint and Ma May Chit Oo also participated.  Local parliamentary representatives, local officials, Township administrators, Township doctors, officials of Orphans Reduction and Protection Association, former political prisoners,  88 Peace and Open Society, volunteers, and COVID-19 Protection Committee Members cooperated.

Mental Empowerment Talk at Quarantine Center in Pathein University

From August 1 to August 18, AAPP were able to deliver the motivational speeches on promoting mental health to those in quarantine, health volunteers & workers, police officers, and other relevant department personnel in two quarantine centers in Hinthada Township, six quarantine centers Pathein Township, three quarantine centers in Bago Township and one quarantine center in Mingaladon Township .  A total of 1084 quarantines of people were present and 100 volunteers attended the speech.

  • 161 quarantined people and 30 health volunteers at two quarantine centers in Hinthada University and Hinthada Technical University in Hinthada Township
  • 473 quarantined people and 38 health volunteers at six quarantine centers in Pathein University, Pathein Technical University and Kangyidaunt Technical University in Pathein Township
  • 199 quarantined people and 17 health volunteers at three quarantine centers in Bago Town
  • 251 quarantined people and 15 health volunteers at three quarantine centers in MingaladonTown

TRAININGS

Human Rights, Complaint Mechanism, Transitional Justice and Documentation of Human Rights Violations Basic Trainings Held in Ayeyarwady Division

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) held two trainings on Human Rights, Complaint Mechanism, Transitional Justice and Documentation of Human Rights Violations Basic Training in Maubin, Ayeyarwady Division in the month of August. A 12-day training from August 6-17 was organized in Pantanaw Town in Ayeyarwady Division and a 12-day training from August 13-24 was organized in  Maubin Township in Ayeyarwady Division.

Human Rights, Complaint Mechanism, Transitional Justice and Documentation of Human Rights Violations Training in Maubin, Ayeyarwady

The 12-day training from August 6-17  was administered by AAPP’s Human Rights and Complaint Mechanism Trainer, Ko Wunna Nwe, and Transitional Justice and Documentation of Human Rights Violations Trainer, Ko Tin Myo Htut. In addition, Ko Myo Tun provided digital security.  Participants were members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and participants were from Burmese and Karen ethnic backgrounds. Pantanaw Township faces trafficking issues and corruption over the return of confiscated lands.

The 12-day training from August 13-24 was administered by AAPP’s Human Rights and Complaint Mechanism Trainer, U Saw Than Hlaing and Documentation of Human Rights Violations and Transitional Justice Trainer U Sai Myint Thu. In addition, Ko Khin Maung Win provided digital security. A total of 15 people (8 women and 7 men) participated in the training. Participants are members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Youth Affairs Committee (Pyapon and Kyaiklat), Rays of Light, Volunteer Team (Pathein), Young Personality Development Organization and Student and Civilian. They all are from Karen and Burmese Ethnic backgrounds. Maubin Township faces issues of arbitrary arrests and tortures.

These trainings served as capacity building measures, aiming to encourage and inform the participants about democratic principles and help them protect their human rights.

One-Day Introductory Course on Search for Transitional Justice at The Wings Institute

On August 7, AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw provided a one-day introductory course on “Search for Transitional Justice” at The Wings Institute. A total of 22 ethnic youths from the different backgrounds attended the training.

ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING

Meeting with Committee on the Human Rights, Democracy and Basic Rights of the Citizens

AAPP and partner organizations with the Committee on the Human Rights, Democracy and Basic Rights of the Citizens

On August 20 at 13:00pm, the representatives of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Alliance Myanmar, Drug Policy Advocacy Group-Myanmar (DPAG) and U Win Aung, Chairman of the Committee on the Human Rights, Democracy and Basic Rights of the Citizens, U Myo Htat a.k.a Salai Myo Htike, secretary of the committee, and committee members met at the committee meeting hall of the Amyotha Hluttaw. At the meeting, U Win Aung, Chairman of the Committee, delivered an opening speech. AAPP and partner organizations discussed the contents of their collaborated report on “Prison Reform with Key Population”. They went through the conditions of discrimination experienced by key populations, prison law and how to implement reform of the judiciary system, personal health conditions of female prisoners, the sexual assault of LGBT people, ART medications availabality in the prison system needed by PLHIV, issues to reduce drug problems, and other points to be added/amended by the group led by AAPP, and the committee asked the CSO representatives anything else they would like to know. Then, the group led by AAPP and the committee discussed cooperation between them moving forward. Next, U Win Aung, Chairman of the Committee on the Human Rights, Democracy and Basic Rights of the Citizens, announced the session had been recorded and should be systematically studied and then delivered a closing thanking speech.

Meeting with The Wings Institute

On August 24, there was a meeting between AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw and the Wings Institute. In the meeting, they discussed  issues to work together on transitional justice in the future.

Introduction Report of  “Mapping Injustice in Myanmar Report to the People’s Party

On August 24, AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw introduced the report  “Mapping Injustice in Myanmar” to the candidates of the People’s Party running in Rangoon Division and party’s officials.

Meeting with Regional MP of Ayeyarwady Division Hluttaw

Meeting with Ayeyarwady Hluttaw MP’s

On August 28, there was a meeting between a representative group led by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and MP from Ayeyarwady Division Hluttaw of the Ayeyarwady Division.  In the meeting, “Mapping Injustice in Myanmar Report, which was written by AAPP and its partner organizations, was introduced and  the contents of  the report were discussed.

SUPPORT 

Supporting Current and Former Political Prisoners

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) continued to provide support to political prisoners currently incarcerated and former political prisoners struggling with their daily lives. In August, AAPP supported (25) political prisoners from the prisons of Insein (14 prisoners), Mandalay (7 prisoners), and Sittwe, Pathein, Lashio and Mawlamyine  (4 prisoners). In addition to this, AAPP supported (6) former political prisoners suffering from a variety of ailments, such as (mental stress, hernia operations, stroke, eye surgery, osteoporosis, and diabetes. AAPP also assisted with the funeral of a former political prisoner. AAPP also assisted (136) farmers facing trial outside the prison (89 from Mandalay Division, 47 from Shan State), (2) people facing trial inside prison and (8) human rights lawyers.

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 August, AAPP supported (3) former political prisoners who were tortured in prison.

COVID-19 Support to Prison and Prison Advocacy 

AAPP Donated COVID-19 Prevention Materials to Hlay-Hlaw-Inn Yebet Prison Labour Camp and Kyaik Za Kaw Prison Labour Camp

On August 2, a group led by AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw donated COVID-19 prevention materials to prisoners in Hlay-Hlaw-Inn Yebet Prison Labour Camp (1000 carbolic soap, 5 boxes of Pesticide spray, 3 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol and 5 boxes of 10-liter of hand wash soap) and Kyaik Za Kaw Prison Labour Camp (1000 carbolic soap, 5 boxes of Pesticide spray, 3 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol and 5 boxes of 10-liter of hand wash soap). These were received by the responsible officers from the relevant labour camps.

AAPP Donated COVID-19 Prevention Materials to Myingyan and Nyaung-U Prisons

On August 5, a group led by AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw donated COVID-19 prevention materials to prisoners in Myingyan prison (3600 carbolic soap, 10 boxes of Pesticide spray, 6 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol and 8 boxes of 10-liter of hand wash soap) and Nyaung-U prison (800 carbolic soap, 5 boxes of Pesticide spray, 3 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol and 5 boxes of 10-liter of hand wash soap). These were received by the responsible officers from the relevant prisons.

AAPP Donated COVID-19 Prevention Materials to Thanlyin Youth Training Center

On August 13, a group led by AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw donated COVID-19 prevention materials to prisoners in Thanlyin Youth Training Center (1200 carbolic soap, 5 boxes of Pesticide spray, 3 boxes of 10-liter of Germitol and 2 boxes of 10-liter of hand wash soap). These were received by the responsible officer of the Youth Training Center.

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 a monthly chronology and lists of political prisoners. On August 5, AAPP published its chronology and political prisoners list for July.

In addition to this, AAPP’s monthly newsletter details the meetings with parliamentary members, officers of the government agencies, ambassadors from international embassies and representatives of NGOs and CBOs, delivering human rights discussions, talks and providing training. On August 5, AAPP published our July 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 August 5 and has documented cases during July  in relation to COVID-19 pandemic with lists of arrests, charges and sentences documenting the violation of the rules related to COVID-19.

Interviewing and Documenting Victims of Torture

Since 2015, AAPP has been conducting interviews and documenting the experiences of former political prisoners who have been subjected to torture in prisons and interrogation camps. In August, interviews were conducted on the experiences of three former political prisoners who were sentenced to 13 years and five years, 16 years and five years, 15 years and six years  in prison and tortured, both in and out of prison. 

A total of 183 political prisoners, who were tortured from 2015 to the end of August 2020, were interviewed and documented.

Collection of Data on Former Political Prisoners

In 2014, a program to collect information on political prisoners was launched with the aim of systematically collecting information on the incarceration of former political prisoners. In August, profiles of two former political prisoners were collected. From 2014 to the end of August 2020, AAPP has collected data on 3,602 former political prisoners. Information on the remaining former political prisoners is still being collected on our AAPP social media sites. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

GENERAL ACTIVITIES

Reconciliation Exchange Program Yangon  Visited AAPP

U Kyaw Soe Win explaining the objectives and current activities of AAPP to the Reconciliation Exchange Program

On August 2, a total of 27 students of the Reconciliation Exchange  Program Yangon led by Ma Phyoe Phyoe Aung and Ma Po Po visited the office of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). U Kyaw Soe Win, U Kyaw Soe and Ko Wunna Nwel explained the objectives and current activities of AAPP and Ko Than Htike Win and Ma Aye Thida gave them a museum tour.

Introduction Report of Prison Reform with Key Population Coalition

U Tate Naing introducing the online launch of “Prison Reform with Key Population Coalition” report

On August 4, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and the Alliance Myanmar in collaboration with partner organizations, launched the report “Prison Reform with Key Population Coalition” via a streaming webinar. , AAPP’s Secretary, and Dr. U Soe Naing, the executive director of the Alliance Myanmar, gave the opening speech. Researcher U Ye Aung disseminated the findings from “Prison Reform with Key Populations” Report.

This report was developed through interviews with key populations including the drug users, vulnerable and marginalized groups of people in society comprising sex workers, persons with disabilities (PWD) and LGBTI people about the conditions they faced in jails as convicted or unconvicted prisoners.

The following link is available:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vp1yB2OWoi4&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR3Viq96JrRL3FAXgL49vci4oGytNvyl5FIPq7ZMBjgjPlNxo_UJvygm1eI

https://aappb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/prison-reform-with-key-population-Eng.pdf

Release of  Myanmar Freedom of Expression Scorecard (2020)

On August 6, PEN Myanmar and its 12 partner organizations including the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) released the Myanmar Freedom of Expression Scorecard (2020). This scorecard is assessing the progress of the state in the key areas needed to strengthen free expression.

The following link is available:

http://www.penmyanmar.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PEN_2020-Scorecard-Myanmar.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2KyP3i6MbSLxY65RA2EK4WyaO0QfdwH858VnKVhSXwAMrpYzxaDUPqvBU 

http://www.penmyanmar.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/PEN_2020-Scorecard-English.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3bl33WRh8hVqmdbtNQqMuL5G33FLIzxyRYLJ5mF–O8eAYLl9Y1by_EDs  

Release of ‘Rights in Reverse’ Report Detailing Human Rights Violations Against the Backdrop of Conflict & the COVID-19 Pandemic

On July 7, the Network for Human Rights Documentation-Burma, which the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) is a part of, released a report titled ‘Rights in Reverse,’ detailing human rights violations against the backdrop of conflict and COVID-19. ND-Burma also evaluated the stakeholder response to COVID-19 by assessing whether the needs of their communities were met by the government at the national and regional level. Furthermore, our briefer recommends prioritizing the safety of civilians who face an upcoming election amid active conflict. As the pandemic continues to spread, civilians in conflict affected areas have compromised access to treatment, information and support.

The following link is available: https://nd-burma.org/rights-in-reverse-human-rights-violations-during-covid-19-in-bu

 Irrawaddy News Agency Published Article by Joint-Secretary of AAPP

On August 17, Irrawaddy News Agency published an article by AAPP’s Joint Secretary U Bo Kyi on “How Should Myanmar Citizens Vote This November?”. In the article it was stated that we should vote for candidates who respect the trust we have placed in them, and categorically support human rights for all.

The following link is available:

https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/how-should-myanmar-citizens-vote-this-november.html?fbclid=IwAR170EXU_9Aej98s37ZaYZeEekfBZnqwG23Wnqe81pJ9dqvmzPA1hPGwi-o

Launch of Mapping Injustice in Myanmar Report and Panel Discussion

U Aung Myo Kyaw opening the launch of Mapping Injustice in Myanmar report

On August 22 and August 23, the ceremony of the launch of Mapping Injustice in Myanmar report and Panel Discussion was held at Grand Palace Hotel in Rangoon. This report was collaborated by AAPP and  partner organizations. U Aung Myo Kyaw, AAPP’s Rangoon Office Head, delivered the opening speech. In addition, U Aung Myo Kyaw was a moderator of the panel discussion. U Tin Maung Htwe talked about the experiences in writing research for the report. Moreover, U Ye Aung from Open Myanmar Initiative (OMI), Ko Zaw Moe, head of Documentation and Research and deupty  Foreingn Affairs of AAPP, and Ma Ei Ei Moe from Generation Wave (GW), are the panelists. Then, they answered the questions of the media.

The report researched the human rights abuses that took place across Burma during the 10-year period from 2010 to 2020.

The following link is available:

https://aappb.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/HRV.layout.final_.pdf

Attended Anniversary of 88 Uprising

On August 8, AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw attended the anniversary of the 88 Uprising. The anniversary was held in front of the Yangon City Hall and Maggin Monastery.

Meeting with Retired Prison Superintendent

On August 15, AAPP Joint Secretary U Bo Ky, AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw, Head of Documentation and Research and Deputy  Foreingn Affairs of AAPP Zaw Moe, Executive Member U Soe Naing and AAPP member Ko Ko Aung met with Prison Superintendent U Sein Htay. In the meeting, they discussed prison reform.

Attended the Ceremony of  Introduction of The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report

On August 30, AAPP Rangoon Office Head U Aung Myo Kyaw attended the Ceremony of  Introduction of the Universal Periodic Review Report. The ceremony was held at the Green Hill Hotel in Rangoon by the Burma/Myanmar UPR Forum.

MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MHAP)

Online Mental Health Consultation Program During COVID-19 Pandemic

AAPP’s Mental Health Assistance Program (MHAP) is continuing its Online Mental Health Consultation Program during the COVID-19 pandemic in August 2020. MHAP received calls from several locations over facebook messenger and viber from such places as Yangon, Mandalay, Magway, Bago, Ayeyarwady Region, and Thailand (Yangon Region – 25%, Bago Region – 14%, Thailand – 14%, Mandalay  Region – 18%, Ayeyarwaddy 19%, Magway 7%, Mon – 1%, Sagaing 1% and other areas 1%.

The people who called to our Online Mental Health Consultation Program were also of different ages and occupations such as government office staffs, migrant workers, seaman, women-led household, NGO staff, company staff, quarantine people, volunteers from quarantine centers, and PLHIV.

In August 2020, MHAP provided coping with stress skills during COVID-19 pandemic to 261 people (129 male, age range of 18 – 70) and 120 female, age range of 18 – 75). We provided coping with stress skills to 71 quarantined people from Ayeyarwaddy and Bago Regions in this month of August.

They have following symptoms:

Constantly being fearful and worrying about your own health and the health of your loved ones

  • Feeling emotionally upset most of the time
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Being short-tempered or angred more easily
  • Worrying too much about easy infection especially people living with HIV
  • Feelings of sadness and depression
  • A loss of interest in things you are normally interested in.
  • Feeling lonely

Tele-CETA Training to AAPP-MHAP Supervisors and Counselors

Tele-CETA online training to MHAP supervisors and counselors

In August, AAPP-MHAP trainer Htin Aung gave Tele-CETA training to MHAP supervisors and counselors online. It will be online CETA full treatment to socially distance from clients and people who are in the difficult situation to meet in-person due to COVID-19.

Stress Management and Self-care Training

Stress management and self-care training in Namhsan, northern Shan State

 

On 19 – 23 August, MHAP supervisor Ma Than Than Htay and counselor Ma Thida Aye travelled to Namhsam, Northern Shan State to provide stress management and self-care training to 10 gender based violence survivors from Ta’ang Women Organization (TWO). The participants gain knowledge on mental health and they get the skills to manage their daily stress and are able to cope their emotions.

Online Stress Management and Self-Care Training to Human Rights Defenders

Stress management and self-care training in Namhsan, northern Shan State

On the 25 – 29 August, MHAP trainer Ko Htin Aung provided online stress management and self-care training to human rights defenders from Rainbow Alliance and Ta’ang Women Organization (TWO). 12 participants of different genders attended the training. The participants gain the knowledge and skills to manage the stress in their job and work.

Publish Videos and Articles on Coping with Stress and Self-Care During COVID-19

AAPP’s trainer, Htin Aung, has posted a video and article about coping with stress and self-care during COVID-19 pandemic online. The following links are available:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1222456111420222&id=100009675341030&__tn__=K-R

https://www.facebook.com/100009675341030/videos/1218134581852375/?id=100009675341030

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1216435098688990&set=a.123059904693187&type=3&theater

Publish Article in Journal About Importance of Counseling

Aung Moe Lwin, one of the AAPP counselors, wrote an article about “How Important the Counseling is” in the Myanmar Than Taw Sint journal on the 10th of August. The link is as follows.

https://www.facebook.com/634323476905777/photos/a.648395438831914/1250805695257549/?type=3&theater

INTERVIEWS 

Interview with One News Myanmar about Tortures and Deaths in Prisons and Cells

U Tate Naing talking to One News Myanmar

On August 10, U Tate Naing, Secretary of AAPP, gave an interview to One News Myanmar about the tortures and deaths in prisons and cells. In the interview, U Tate Naing said, it is a great concern that the authorities themselves misunderstand that torture is the only way to get the right answer, police stations and prisons appear to be more supportive of torture as they are shielded from the public eye, plans must be made to prevent such incidents, the United Nations Convention against Torture must be ratified immediately to offer legal protection from torture, measures must be taken to prevent torture and one is to enact laws to prevent torture by signing such agreements. The Police Act has to be amended if UNCAT is ratified.

The following link is available:

https://www.facebook.com/onenewsmyan/videos/300608611149218 

Interview with MNC TV News about Mapping Injustice in Myanmar Report

U Tate Naing talking to MNC TV News

On August 10, U Tate Naing, Secretary of AAPP, gave an interview to MNC TV News about the “Mapping Injustice in Myanmar” report. In the interview, U Tate Naing said, Section 18, 19, 20 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law, Section 66(d) of the Telecommunication Law are  laws that can be used to take action at any time against anyone, the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens, Section 500, 501 and 502 of the Penal Code should also be reviewed and amended. Laws should be drafted to protect citizens and media in relation to their digital security rights, and also urged not to sue more people under Section 124 of the Penal Code.

The following link is available:

https://www.mcntv.biz/streamizshow/24/08/2020/154865/?fbclid=IwAR2lkGNNDB9P2b5sjPT0UQ9JkBg6Os0N0XdllSu5HsGEWYCRTyioGjZo2Og

Interview with One News Myanmar about “Life in Quarantine”

Hnin Pan Eain talking to One News Myanmar

On August 31, writer Hnin Pan Eain, a counselor of AAPP,  gave an interview to One News Myanmar about “Life in Quarantine”. In the interview, Hnin Pan Eain said, we will face challenges if COVID-19 pandemic continues to occur in the long term, stresses will come, we will prepare for that, therefore, more counseling will be needed.

The following link is available:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=7SFIso8vfOE&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR107w8mSa8XwG288aLAfHGx51npCNq_IbfUqZ-Qtf7hZoxVXrA8tT-gpDg

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) 9425 308 840

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

Download link for August Newsletter