AAPP’s Monthly Chronology of April 2020 and Current Political Prisoners List
Month in Review
Freedom of Speech and Expression
The right to freedom of expression in Burma remains vulnerable. In April, three members of the Kachin Regional Research Group including Director Naw Tun Aung, Ko Zeyar Nye and Ma Ja Seng were charged under Section 295 (a) of the Penal Code. In April, Ko Naing a.k.a Aung Kyi Myint, a reporter from Channel Mandalay TV, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, along with two villagers, Aung Naing and Chit Min under Section 332, 147 of The Penal Code. Journalists are responsible for their work and prosecuting them under criminal penalties has greatly undermined the media sector. According to the French Press Freedom Index (RSF), Buma’s freedom of press Index has been declined year after year. According to these indicators, Burma’s freedom of the press has steadily dropped from the rank of 131 in 2017, to 139 in 2020. This is a matter of concern for the media sector and shows the urgent need for protection of the media community. Arresting, prosecuting, and punishing those who exercise their freedom of expression and speech is a deviation from the path of democracy. Freedom of expression is not a threat to the government, but a request for reform. Freedom of the press in Burma is continuing to decline, and journalists are still under threat.Therefore, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) urges the Government to take action to promote freedom of the press and promote the rights of journalists.
During April, as a positive step, 24,896 prisoners, including 26 of the political prisoners submitted for consideration for release by AAPP were released in the annual Presidential pardon. However despite this release, prisons remain overcrowded. This is particularly concerning during the COVID 19 epidemic. Therefore, AAPP calls for the release of more prisoners, including the 50 political prisoners who remain behind bars arbitrarily.
Consequences of Conflict in Ethnic Areas
During the ongoing epidemic of COVID-19, various human rights abuses in Burma continues unabated. In particular, with the ongoing armed conflict in ethnic areas, indigenous peoples have also suffered serious harm. Some of the events that took place in April are listed below
- Ko Zaw Gyi from Yaw Sin Pyin village was tortured to death after he was arrested by Mrauk-U-based Battalion No. 377. His corpse was taken to Mrauk-U hospital.
- In Minbya Township, Arakan State, Kyaw Win Khaing a.k.a Kyaw Win from May Lwan village was shot dead by an army officer and died on the spot. ( After the incident, the office of the military’s commander-in-chief issued a statement that security forces had fired warning shots after Kyaw Win Chey failed to stop his motorbike at the checkpoint.)
- Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO); Ta’ang Students and Youth Union (TSYU); The Ta’ang Legal Association (TLA) issued a statement saying that the Burmese military continues to take advantage of the Covid-19 incident and commit human rights abuses in northern Shan State.
- In Arakan State, a World Health Organization driver died from wounds sustained when gunmen fired on him and another health worker as they drove from the conflict zone to the major city Yangon carrying coronavirus test samples. Another driver was killed and one of his passengers died after the Arakan Army (AA) shot at the car, which was carrying medicines from the CPS pesticide company near the Ramen bridge, Minbya Township in Arakan State.
Bullet injuries and fatalities
- At least 18 people, including three children, were killed in the shootings and 29 others, including four children, were injured in Paletwa Township, Chin State, Mrauk-U Township, Kyauktaw Township, Buthidaung Township, Myebon and Minbya Township, Arakan State.
Deaths/injuries caused by airstrikes
- Seven civilians were killed and eight injured in airstrikes in Paletwa Township, Chin State.
Deaths/injuries caused by artillery shelling
- At least 17 people were killed, including four children, and 31 were injured, including five children in Paletwa Township, Chin State, Kyauktaw Township, Ann Township, Buthidaung Township, and Ponnagyun Township, Arakan State.
Landmine and bomb blast injuries and fatalities
- One child and a civilian were injured in a bomb blast in Mrauk-U Township, Arakan State.
- A civilian was killed in a landmine blast in Rathedaung Township, Arakan State.
Indigenous people living in ethnic areas have been facing fears of human rights abuses by armed groups such as arrests, torture, and killing. Given the threat of COVID-19, fighting in ethnic areas must be stopped as soon as possible and ceasefires should be implemented as soon as possible. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appealed for “urgent action to end the global mass shootings and put an end to the disease that destroys our social world.” At present, there is a great need for the protection of indigenous peoples living in ethnic regions in Burma, due to conflict and the threat of COVID-19.
Download link for Chronology and Month in review April Chronology
Download link for remaining PP list 50 Remaining PP list (Updated 30 Apr, 2020) eng
Download link for facing trial list 537 Facing Trial List (English)
Download link for Released PP list by Amnesty 26 released PP list (Updated 28 Apr, 2020)eng
66 (D) list 66 (D) total list(new) Updated
For more information:
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
Tate Naing (Secretary) +95(0) 9428 023 828
U Bo Kyi (Joint-Secretary) +95(0) 942 530 8840