Asia Rights

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BURMA: In memoriam: Phyo Wai Aung, a courageous fighter against inhuman abuse

Posted in Articles, Human Rights Ideas, News, Southeast Asia on February 4th, 2013

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is greatly aggrieved to learn of the tragic death of Phyo Wai Aung in Rangoon, Burma during the early morning hours of 4 January 2013.

Phyo Wai Aung was an aspiring young electrical engineer with a loving family when in April 2010 police arrested him at home late one night for alleged involvement in a bomb attack at a crowded festival. They tortured him brutally for weeks to force him to confess to the crime, for which they had been unable to arrest the actual suspects. In a farcical trial held within the central prison, he recounted the torture in detail. After pointlessly drawn out proceedings, the court convicted him of all charges and sentenced him to death in May 2012. In August, the government granted him clemency–tacit recognition of his innocence unaccompanied by a willingness to admit to this fact–and ordered his release. Full details are on the campaign page that the AHRC established on this case: www.humanrights.asia/countries/burma/phyo-wai-aung

The torture and atrocious ill treatment of Phyo Wai Aung took their toll. While in custody he was repeatedly denied medical attention for the damage caused to him physically, to say nothing of the psychological impact. In May 2012 the AHRC had already noted that Phyo Wai Aung was critically ill due to denial of medical treatment while in custody. According to doctors then, on the basis of a CT scan he would have only a few months to live. His brother writing to the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar (Burma) at the time said that it seemed that Phyo Wai Aung would have to pay with his life to show how bad the authorities in his country are. Sadly, both he and the doctors were correct.

When two directors of the AHRC, Bijo Francis and Basil Fernando visited Phyo Wai Aung and his family in December, they found a young man who was paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk. But they also met a young man who was still full of life and despite everything that he had suffered was determined to go on and make the best of things. He remained hopeful that he would recover, and talked about how he would want to be able to provide for his daughter’s education, just as any father would want.

Phyo Wai Aung also hoped to pursue his case, clear his name, and one day bring to account those responsible for his torture. Unlike many victims of torture in Burma who relieved at the end of custody are too fearful to try to do anything to obtain redress, Phyo Wai Aung had a strong determination to fight back. The AHRC directors promised him that they would do whatever they could to assist in these goals. Unfortunately, his physical strength did not match that of his spirit. Nonetheless, the Asian Human Rights Commission stands firm in its commitment to continue to fight for justice and call for the perpetrators of Phyo Wai Aung’s torture to be prosecuted, and for his family to obtain the redress that it deserves.

The case of Phyo Wai Aung was at the centre of the AHRC’s work on Burma in the last few years, and for this reason his loss is felt especially strongly in our organization today. However, we are under no illusions that the incidence of maltreatment and torture in Burma’s police stations and prisons is diminishing as a result of changing political conditions, as some would like to believe. Just last month at a programme held in Hong Kong with Burmese colleagues we heard of many harrowing recent cases of torture that have also left victims dead or severely damaged.

Every day there are more and more people forced to suffer like Phyo Wai Aung. Therefore in remembering Phyo Wai Aung today we are also remembering all those who have suffered similarly, who are suffering similarly in his country. In Phyo Wai Aung’s name we say: stop torture now!

See here for the original article on the AHRC website.

BURMA: Villager and monk brutally and bizarrely tortured for a week to confess to rape and murder

Posted in Articles, Human Rights Ideas, Southeast Asia on February 4th, 2013
See here for original post on AHRC website.
 
January 23, 2013

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-006-2013

23 January 2013

———————————————————————
BURMA: Villager and monk brutally and bizarrely tortured for a week to confess to rape and murder

ISSUES: Torture; arbitrary arrest and detention; impunity
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received extensive information about the case of a young man and a monk whom police accused of raping and murdering a young woman and tortured brutally for a week in 2010 in order to force a confession with which to convict the two. Despite the retraction of the confession in court, the judge convicted the two men and omitted any reference to the alleged torture from the verdict. For the last two years the two have languished in prison. They have now appealed to the president for their release.

CASE NARRATIVE:

The AHRC has obtained detailed depositions of the two men accused in this case concerning torture that they both sustained for over a week. A summary of some details of the torture is contained here. Some more details are in the sample letter below.

Photo of San Win (left) and U Thubodha (right)The police arrested the two accused, San Win and U Thubodha, following the alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl in a village in Monywa district at the end of March 2010. After the girl’s body was found the next morning, the authorities called all able males in the village to the school, where they questioned each and ordered them to strip off their shirts. By that time, the actual alleged offender, the son of the head of the village administration, had already left the village. They made a number of arrests, including of San Win, whom they held in custody in the village illegally, and the next day took back to a police station.

Although the police led San Win to believe that he would be released, they began to torture him brutally on April 4. That night, the police forced him to strip his clothes and made him kneel on sharp gravel with his hands cuffed behind his back, during which time three policemen assaulted him with truncheons on rotation. One policeman hit his penis with a stick and others held down San Win and ran a roller back and forth over his shins under heavy pressure; a technique that causes excruciating pain and leads the skin to peel off the legs.

For the next two days and nights the police held San Win in that lockup without giving him food or water and keeping his hands cuffed behind his back and chained to the cell bars. The chain was only long enough to stand or sit, preventing him from lying down and sleeping. On April 7, they took him to the township police headquarters where they forced him into stress positions, such as imitating riding a horse. Because he was exhausted from lack of sleep, food and water, San Win kept falling to the floor, whereupon a policeman would kick him and force him to get back up. They repeated this type of torture the next day. They also hoisted San Win off the ground, keeping him dangling with his arms bent up behind his head for perhaps an hour, after which they lowered him so that his feet could touch the ground but did not untie him, instead leaving him like that for the night.

Again on the night of April 11 a number of police took San Win into an interrogation room and assaulted him by punching him in the sternum, and hitting his face. They forced him to sit cross-legged and face down while a police officer pushed his knees into San Win’s back and thrust his stomach in, causing him to gasp and convulse. They asked him if he wanted the torture to go on for a month, and said that beyond ten days he would not survive. At 9pm that night the police came in drunk and in a bizarre ritual forced him to put on the clothes of the murder victim, while they jeered and yelled the girl’s name, saying that she herself had uncovered her murderer. After San Win took off the clothes he was forced to stay kneeling throughout the night.

On April 12, the police told San Win to sign some documents, but San Win refused and a policeman punched and slapped him until he was dizzy. They guided him to make a signature on some papers. Later they tried to force him to confess before a judge, but when he refused they did not press the matter because they already had a confession from his co-accused, U Thubodha.

The police called U Thubodha for questioning at the Winmanar Police Station on the afternoon of April 3. They took him into a side room and assaulted him. When he cried out, they stuffed paper into his mouth and then forced him to kneel on sharp gravel. One kicked him savagely in the back and punched him in the stomach. He hit the monk’s forehead onto the hard floor, causing it to swell up. Then he forced him also to wear the young girl’s underwear and accused the monk of using sorcery to entrap her. He also went and got the girl’s slippers and slapped and rubbed the monk in the face with them. He later brought the girl’s top and forced him to wear it.

On April 4 the police took Thubodha to another room and strung him from the ceiling the same like San Win. While dangling, police hit him in various parts of his body and threatened to kill him if he did not admit to the crime. The torture continued in this manner for about half an hour and they went out for tea. They got a rope and made it into a noose. They tied it around his neck and pulled him up so that he was on his tip-toes and gasping for air and again threatened him to admit to the crime saying they would kill him if he lied. They also stuck three needles through the middle of his tongue and pulling again on the noose asked him if he wanted to die.

The police stopped the torture for a while after a warning that he might die from the township police chief, but then started to beat him again and again pulled him up by rope so that he was dangling, and told him that if he didn’t speak up then he would die that night, and that if they killed him nothing would happen to them. One hit him repeatedly with a stick, but when he started bleeding the policeman stopped. He made the monk kneel on sharp gravel and say repeatedly that he was the one who did it to the girl.

Finally, because he could not bear the torture any longer Thubodha said that he would say and sign whatever the police wanted. They said that if they did as they said, he would get food and water, which he had not received since his time in custody. They gave him some water, let him bathe and put him back in the lockup. Later, at the township headquarters, however, the torture continued. Some police burned the hair around his anus with lit cigarettes, and one pulled down his uniform pants and stuck his penis at the monk’s anus, asking him if he had done it to the girl like that. They beat him repeatedly.

On April 6, the police instructed Thubodha on how to confess and took him to a judge. But when before the judge the monk refused to confess and said he had been tortured. Rather than doing anything about it, the judge just told the police to take him back. Once back at the headquarters, the torture began again. The police made him hold a grenade and pointed a revolver at him, saying they would kill him. When they again took him to court, this time Thubodha met the same judge but the judge did not ask anything, only falsely recorded that he had no injuries and made him sign documents.

On April 30 the trial of the two accused opened in the district court. Both of the accused testified that they had been tortured for throughout their custody and U Thubodha retracted the confession that he had given. Furthermore, the material evidence was inconclusive. The examining doctor could not find evidence that the girl had been raped prior to her death as the police had claimed. Nonetheless, the district court sentenced the accused based on the confession and on witness testimonies against them that the police had also coerced or cajoled other villagers to give, and presently the two accused are detained in Mandalay jail.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

The AHRC has for some years documented cases of brutal torture in ordinary criminal cases in Burma, most recently in the case of Myo Myint Swe, who died in custody and whose body showed extensive evidence of professional torture techniques: AHRC-UAC-176-2012.

These cases and others that the AHRC has documented put pay to the misconception that torture in Burma was essentially associated with the cases of political prisoners and that therefore in the current situation as political conditions change the incidence of torture will decline significantly. Although police officers are having to be more cautious as the domestic media reports more openly on cases like this sort, it is clear that the use of torture is widespread and habitual, as in other countries in the region, and that it will take systemic measures to eliminate. Indeed, this case shows the extent to which all parts of the system, including judges and doctors who come into contact with victims of torture, are complicit in these crimes.

For many more cases and issues concerning human rights in Burma, visit the AHRC’s country homepage: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/burma.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write a letter to the following government authorities to urge that the two accused in this case be released from prison, the murder case reopened, and a special investigation be conducted into the use of torture in this case with a view to laying criminal charges against the police involved.

Please note that for the purpose of the letter Burma is referred to by its official name, Myanmar.

Please also be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights in Myanmar; on torture, and on extrajudicial killings; and, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and regional office in Bangkok, calling for their interventions into this matter.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

MYANMAR: Two men tortured for a week and forced to confess to rape and murder

Names of victims:
1. San Win, a.k.a. Khin Maung, 36, peasant, resident of Sin Oe Village, Kani Township, Monywa District, Sagaing Region
2. Thaung Paing, a.k.a. U Thubodha, monk, 34, resident of Letpansu Monastery, Kani Township; both victims currently detained in Mandalay Central Prison

Names of persons involved:
1. Inspector Aung Ko, Commander, Winmanar Police Station
2. Sub Inspector Kyaw Thet
3. Sub Inspector Naing Lin
4. Sub Inspector Khin Maung Nyo
5. Tin Aung Moe, police officer of unknown rank
6. Constable Aye Min
7. Constable Win Htun
8. Commander, Kani Township Police
9. U Ya Aung, Chairman, Sin-oe Village administration

Date of incident: 1-13 April 2010
Place of incident: Various police facilities in Kani Township
Charge: Murder, section 302(1)(c), Penal Code (San Win), and abetment of murder, section 302(1)(c) and 114 (Thaung Paing)
Court cases: Criminal Case No. 8/2010, Monywa District Court; sentenced to death on 7 October 2010; Criminal Appeal No. 220/2010, Supreme Court (Mandalay), rejected

I am writing at length to disclose to you the shocking extent of the torture allegedly suffered by a man and a monk accused of raping and murdering an underage girl in 2010. Under pressure to identify culprits, and apparently knowing that the alleged actual culprit—the son of an influential local official—had already left the area, the police went after other targets and forced a confession from one of the two accused after diabolical methods of torture alleged by the two men in detailed depositions recorded while they are in prison. What follows is a relatively short summation of those details.

The police arrested the two accused following the alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl in Sin-oe Village on the night of 31 March 2010. After the girl’s body was found the next morning, the police and township and village administration called all males aged 12 to 50 in the village to the school, where they questioned each and ordered them to strip off their shirts. By that time, the actual alleged offender, the son of the head of the village administration, had already left the village. They made a number of arrests, including of San Win, whom they took to a house and interrogated while handcuffed during the night. The next day they brought him back to the school and continued to interrogate him, throughout the day and that night.

On April 3 the police took a total of eight men from the locality, including San Win, to the Winmanar Police Station, where they put them in the lock up. They took them out and interrogated them one at a time.

According to San Win, when the township commander spoke to him on the first occasion he said that the police had arrested San Win because he had a criminal record only, and they knew that he had no knowledge of the crime, which is to say, they needed to look active in response to the rape and murder in a rural community. He added that they would release San Win in due course and advised him to take it easy.

However, on April 4 a team led by the Winmanar police commander again interrogated San Win for the whole day and he was not fed or given water. That night, the police forced him to strip his clothes and made him kneel on sharp gravel throughout the night with his hands cuffed behind his back, during which time three policemen assaulted him with truncheons on rotation. Whenever he fell they forced him back up. At about 7pm Constable Aye Min under the station commander’s direction hit him repeatedly on the penis with a slender branch. Around 3am a number of police held down San Win and ran a roller back and forth over his shins under heavy pressure.

In the morning time the police under orders from the township commander returned San Win’s clothes and put him back in the cells, handcuffed. Thereafter a couple of police took him to the court to obtain remand, after which he was taken to the Kani Police Station cells. For two days and nights the police held him in that lockup without giving him food or water and keeping his hands cuffed behind his back and chained to the cell bars. The chain was only long enough to stand or sit, preventing him from lying down and sleeping.

On the evening of April 7, police took San Win to the township police headquarters where Sub Inspector Kyaw Thet and Sub Inspector Khin Maung Nyo led him into a darkened room where police forced him into stress positions, such as imitating riding a horse. Because he was exhausted from lack of sleep, food and water, San Win kept falling to the floor, whereupon a policeman would kick him and force him to get back up.

The following day the same two sub inspectors and another officer took him to the Kani hospital not for a check up but to look at his penis and physical condition. According to San Win, he overheard the doctor saying that she did not think he was the person responsible for raping the young girl; however, the police took him back to the station and again forced him into stress positions. Then at about 8pm Inspector Aung Ko arrived with a rope and three other police. They tied the rope to the handcuffs behind San Win’s back and lifted him off the ground, keeping him dangling with his arms bent up behind his head for perhaps an hour, after which they lowered him so that his feet could touch the ground but did not untie him, instead leaving him like that for the night.

Again on the night of April 11 a number of unidentified officers, including one sub inspector, took San Win into an interrogation room and assaulted him by punching him in the sternum, and hitting his face. They forced him to sit cross-legged and face down while a police officer pushed his knees into San Win’s back and thrust his stomach in, causing him to gasp and convulse. They asked him if he wanted the torture to go on for a month, and said that beyond ten days he would not survive.

At 9pm that night Aung Ko and three police came again and forced San Win to remove his clothes. The officers were drunk. Then they gave him the underwear, skirt and top of the murdered girl and forced him to put them on. Although they would not fit San Win, he had to pull them on as far as possible, and from outside the room the police jeered and yelled the girl’s name, saying that she herself had uncovered her murderer. After only about two hours did the police allow him to remove the clothes, and Aung Ko then ordered Aye Min not to let San Win sleep that night but to again force him to kneel the whole time.

On April 12, Aung Ko again came with some subordinates and told San Win to sign some documents, but San Win refused and Kyaw Thet punched and slapped him until he was dizzy. Aung Ko then took forced a pen into his hand and guided a wobbly signature onto the page put in front of him. After that, saying that it was all that he needed, Aung Ko left, and on that day for the first time the police allowed San Win’s family to send him food. The next day, Aung Ko tried to force San Win to give a confession before a judge, but when he refused the policeman said that it did not matter—since he already had the confession of the co-accused.

The police called U Thubodha for questioning at the Winmanar Police Station on the afternoon of April 3. According to Thubodha, fter treating him politely at first they took him into a side room with a single chair and table. Sub Inspector Naing Lin sat and forced him to stand before the table, where Sub Inspector Khin Maung Nyo, Constable Aye Min and Tin Maung Moe hit the monk all over his body. When he cried out, they stuffed paper into his mouth and then forced him to kneel on sharp gravel. After about half an hour, Aung Ko came and kicked him savagely in the back, then punched him in the stomach. He hit the monk’s forehead onto the hard floor, causing it to swell up. Then he forced him also to wear the young girl’s underwear and accused the monk of using sorcery to entrap her. He also went and got the girl’s slippers and slapped and rubbed the monk in the face with them. He later brought the girl’s top and forced him to wear it.

On April 4 the police took Thubodha to another room and strung him from the ceiling the same like San Win. While dangling, Sub Inspector Kyaw Thet and Naing Lin hit him in various parts of his body and threatened to kill him if he did not admit to the crime. The torture continued in this manner for about half an hour and they went out for tea. Around 7am the Kani station commander, Kyaw Thet, Naing Lin and Tin Aung Moe returned with a rope used for leading cattle and tied it into a noose. They tied it around his neck and pulled him up so that he was on his tip-toes and gasping for air and again threatened him to admit to the crime saying they would kill him if he lied. They also stuck three needles through the middle of his tongue and pulling again on the noose asked him if he wanted to die.

Around this time the township police commander came and warned the officers not to torture the accused constantly because if he did die then they would have trouble. They put him back in the cells and removed the handcuffs. However, subsequently the police again began punching and slapping him, and in the evening time Constable Aye Min again cuffed him and brought him into a room with the Kani station chief, Naing Lin, Kyaw Thet, Khin Maung Nyo, Tin Aung Moe and another sub inspector. The chief forced him to kneel and told him that they were not feeding him on orders. They again hit him and pulled him up by rope so that he was dangling, and told him that if he didn’t speak up then he would die that night, and that if they killed him nothing would happen to them. Later the Kani station chief hit him repeatedly with a stick, but when he started bleeding the policeman stopped. The others began hitting and slapping him again and the chief told him to repeat 300 times that he was the one who did the crime, while again kneeling on sharp gravel. By this time Thubodha estimates it was around 2am on April 5.

Finally, because he could not bear the torture any longer Thubodha said that he would say and sign whatever the police wanted. Aung Ko came and told him that, “Whatever I ask you just say ‘yes’, after that we’ll give food and water.” Thubodha agreed, and they took him back to the cells and brought him some water but no food. It was around dawn on April 5. At that time he could hear the sound of beating, crying and yelling coming from an adjacent cell. Later in the morning the police came and said they would take him to hospital, but they just took him to a stream and let him bathe then brought him back to the station lockup.

Around midday the police brought him out and he saw the senior officers and subordinates were all there. Thubodha’s brother had also come to the station. When he saw the monk be brought out he went to pay respects by kneeling to him, but the police asked him, “What are you groveling for?” and kicked him in the legs. They brought Thubodha to the township headquarters and there again strung him up until only his tip-toes were on the floor, then the stuck cigarettes into his buttocks and burned the hair around his anus. Then Naing Lin pulled down his pants and asked Thubodha, “Do you want to suck it?” The monk said he didn’t want to, and the policeman came behind him and touched the monk’s anus with his penis. “Did you do that girl like this?” he asked. The monk denied it and the policeman then punched him repeatedly in the chest, telling him not to lie and saying that the police already knew everything. Another policeman came and saying that he had besmeared the name of his village, also punched the monk. Then the township police chief came and told them to take the accused back to the cells. Back in the cells, Kyaw Thet again came and beat Thubodha, and another officer came and forced him to stand on one leg for 15 minutes. Other detainees who were present gave him some bread and water secretly.

Around 8am on April 6, Aung Ko arrived and took him out. He told Thubodha that he would have to go to a judge and repeat everything just as the policeman told him. If he didn’t do it then that night he would die. He then instructed him on how to confess that he and San Win had raped and murdered the girl. After that they took the monk to court and waited outside a room with a judge inside. The judge asked if the police had beaten him. Then Thubodha said he was innocent and that he had been brutally tortured and that he had injuries to show for it. The judge merely called to the police and said, “Take him back.”

The police took him again to the headquarters where Naing Lin again took him to a room and strung him up and began beating him and asking if he could go on like that for two or three months. Aung Ko came and said on a chair in front of him and again said that they would kill him and that nothing would happen to them. Kyaw Thet kicked him in the nape of the neck and then forced him to hold a grenade. Naing Lin took a revolver from Aung Ko and pointed it at Thubodha, telling him if he told the judge next time that the police had beaten him then he would be shot and killed. After that the township chief arrived and again warned his subordinates not to go too far lest they did in fact kill the accused, after which they again took the monk back to the cells.

On April 7, the police took Thubodha to his monastery and collected his three sets of robes and in the evening time the township chief again told him to confess to the crime. The next day they took the monk and San Win both to the village and forced them to pose for reenactment photographs at the scene of the crime. The officers went into the village and left him with Constable Win Htun, who hit him on the neck and head with a fence post repeatedly until blood came from his ear. He also forced his head onto the ground and trod on it, and stabbed him with the sharp end of the post. At this time no villagers were present because they had been ordered to stay away, but firemen on guard duty stood and watched. They did not get involved but they did not stop the violence either. After that the other police came and again took the monk away.

When the police took the montk to court again, Aung Ko warned that this time he was to do as he was told or they would kill him for sure. When they went inside Thubodha met the same judge, who ordered the handcuffs removed and called two people into the room and asked them to check the monk’s body. They said he had no injuries. Thubodha protested that he had many injuries but the judge ignored him. He took copies of documents that the police gave him and then told the monk to sign them, and to take him away. Thubodha also says that he heard the judge say quietly as they left that the police had got the wrong man. As they left the room, Aung Ko gave him the thumbs up and took him back to the Kani Police Station.

While the torture was going on, the administration head in Sin Oe village, U Ya Aung allegedly called a meeting of one person per household and told them that the police had caught the murderers and threatened people to cooperate or he would have them arrested and jailed as well. He also allegedly paid one person to appear as an eyewitness to the supposed abduction of the girl by the accused.

On April 30 the trial of the two accused opened in the district court. Both of the accused testified that they had been tortured for throughout their custody and U Thubodha retracted the confession that he had given. Furthermore, the material evidence was inconclusive. The examining doctor could not find evidence that the girl had been raped prior to her death as the police had claimed. Nonetheless, the district court sentenced the accused based on the confession and on witness testimonies against them that the police had also coerced or cajoled other villagers to give, and presently the two accused are detained in Mandalay jail.

These harrowing accounts speak for themselves, and it would be pointless to expand upon them here. Clearly, if the facts are as the two accused have stated then it will be possible through a thorough investigation to identify witnesses to at least some of the alleged acts of torture and other abuses that occurred over the fortnight following the murder of the young girl, and also to conduct thorough-going medical examinations to see if either of the two has evidence of lasting injuries or scars that correspond with their accounts.

Accordingly, I call for a special investigation to be undertaken into the Kani Township police officers accused of involvement in this torture, the judge who took the confession statement, and the village administrators responsible for covering up the crime and protecting the actual perpetrator. The investigation must be undertaken with a view to bringing criminal charges against the police officers involved, not merely disciplinary action, as is normally the case in instances of this sort. I also urge that the original murder case be reopened and that the two accused be released from prison without undue delay.

At this time that political conditions in Myanmar are changing, it is of utmost importance that institutional changes also be made to hold government officers accountable for crimes of this sort. If police in Myanmar are able to continue to get away with acts of torture, as they had been in past years of military dictatorship, it will spell ill for the efforts to effect change at other levels of society and government. Therefore, cases of this sort serve as important test cases in the current period, for us to assess the credibility and quality of the changes taking place, and it is for this reason too that I consider this case to be one of the utmost significance.

Yours sincerely,

—————-

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. U Hla Min
Minister for Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +95 67 412 439

2. U Thein Sein
President of Myanmar
President Office
Office No.18
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR

3. U Tun Tun Oo<BR>Chief Justice<BR>Office of the Supreme Court<BR>Office No. 24<BR>Naypyitaw<BR>MYANMAR<BR>Tel: + 95 67 404 080/ 071/ 078/ 067 or + 95 1 372 145<BR>Fax: + 95 67 404 059

4. Dr. Tun Shin
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Office No. 25
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 404 088/ 090/ 092/ 094/ 097
Fax: +95 67 404 146/ 106

5. U Kyaw Kyaw Htun
Director General
Myanmar Police Force
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel: +95 67 412 079/ 549 393/ 549 663
Fax: +951 549 663 / 549 208

6. Thura U Aung Ko
Chairman
Pyithu Hluttaw Judicial and Legislative Committee
Office of the Pyithu Hluttaw
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR

7. U Aung Nyein
Chairman
Pyithu Hluttaw Judicial and Legislative Committee
Committee for Public Complaints and Appeals
Office of the Pyithu Hluttaw
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR

8. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Chairwoman
Pyithu Hluttaw Rule of Law and Tranquility Committee
Office of the Pyithu Hluttaw
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR

9. U Win Mra
Chairman
Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
27 Pyay Road
Hlaing Township
Yangon
MYANMAR
Tel: +95-1-659 668 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +95-1-659 668 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax: +95-1-659 668

10. Ko Ko Hlaing
Chief Political Advisor
Office of the President
Naypyitaw
MYANMAR
Tel-+95-1-532 501 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +95-1-532 501 FREE  end_of_the_skype_highlighting ext-605 / 654 668
Fax-+95-1-532 500, 654 668
Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Write to your foreign minister on North Korean human rights

Posted in Articles, Human Rights Ideas, Korea on January 16th, 2013

See the original post at Human Rights Watch.

Dear Foreign Minister,

We are writing as the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), a global coalition of non-governmental organisations engaged in advocacy to address the very grave human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). We were formed in September 2011 and draw together over forty organisations from across the world, including the world’s largest human rights organisations Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). Specifically, we strongly believe the time has come for the establishment of a United Nations Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in North Korea.

Recently, 179 former North Korean political prisoners and defectors, including survivors of severe human rights violations in North Korea, wrote to you to appeal for your government to support an international inquiry into crimes against humanity in the DPRK. We strongly support their request.

As you may know, on 3 October, 2012, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Marzuki Darusman, presented his latest report to the UN General Assembly. In that report, he noted “that for several decades egregious human rights abuses in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have been extensively documented by various actors, including organizations of the United Nations system.” Accordingly, the Special Rapporteur “called on States and the international community to undertake a comprehensive review of the relevant documents to assess the underlying patterns and trends and consider setting up a more detailed mechanism of inquiry.”

The Special Rapporteur’s recommendation is very timely and we urge you to seriously consider his proposal, which is in line with the request by survivors of grave violations in North Korea. The time is long past due for prompt, thorough, independent, and impartial international investigation of the system of political prisoner camps known as gwa-li-so, in which gross violations of human rights, including torture, denial of medical care, dire living conditions, forced labour, sexual violence, and executions are widespread and systematic, have been extensively documented. Furthermore, North Korea has a documented record of abducting foreign nationals, with hundreds of Japanese, South Koreans, and persons of several other nationalities forcefully taken to North Korea.

While the international community has pressed for an end these systematic and pervasive human rights abuses, it is clear that those efforts have not been sufficient. Simply put, the government of North Korea has resolutely ignored international criticism and mass violations continue unabated. The time has come to end the culture of impunity in North Korea and hold the government of the DPRK accountable for these violations. An international, independent inquiry, mandated by the UN and supported by the UN Special Rapporteur and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is needed to investigate and further establish facts, and evaluate both new and existing evidence and allegations to ascertain if there are, prima facie, sufficient grounds to view those violations as crimes under international law, and make recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

Such a Commission of Inquiry will complement and help strengthen the work being done by the UN special rapporteur by bringing more attention, experts, and resources to address the crimes against humanity that we believe are being committed in North Korea on a daily basis.

There is growing momentum for international action on North Korea demonstrated first by the adoption of the annual resolution on North Korea for the first time ever by consensus at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012. And more recently, in November 2012 the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee) also adopted the annual North Korea resolution by consensus for the first time ever. While we recognize and appreciate the efforts that have led to increasing numbers of member states supporting the resolutions on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, culminating in the above-mentioned consensus adoptions of 2012, regrettably this has not led North Korea to change its repressive policies. Those resolutions have also not been able to elicit any appreciable change in North Korea’s wholly negative attitude towards the legitimate role of UN human rights mechanisms to work to ensure respect for human rights. Thus we believe a further mechanism of inquiry under UN auspices is fully warranted.

We hope your government will contribute to maintaining this momentum for accountability for human rights abuses in North Korea, and work with other governments in the UN to ensure that the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation is acted upon and a commission of inquiry can be established immediately.

Sincerely,

ICNK members

Why has it taken so long?

Posted in Articles, Human Rights Ideas, South Asia on January 16th, 2013

When I lived in Delhi I remember having heated arguments with a friend of mine, a well-known journalist, about the potential of China over India. He was a supporter of India, a democracy where he was free to interview and investigate the stories he chose. I was a dedicated Sinophile arguing that democracy was useless if it failed to meet the needs of all India’s inhabitants – how could a country claim to be a democracy when half of the population, India’s females, were not safe to go out in public on their own?

I moved to Delhi in 2003 for two years, representing a major airline in the North India region. I was in my late twenties and single. Soon after my arrival there was a spate of sexual assaults against foreign women in Delhi that were widely publicised, including the rape and murder in 2004 of Australian woman Dawn Emilie Griggs. She had just arrived in Delhi and was brutally killed by the taxi driver who had picked her up from the airport. My company discussed the possibility of moving me out of Delhi.

I was assaulted or abused on numerous occasions whilst living in Delhi. One assault was at the hands of a senior official who had significant control and influence over my company’s operations in India. I had no choice but to continue dealing with him – to refuse meant asking to be transferred which would have been detrimental to my career. Another occurred in a lift in the building of a client. I would normally take the stairs which were safer, but on this occasion they were closed for painting. Luckily the doors opened a few floors down and a second man entered who came to my assistance. There are many good men in India who hope that their daughters and sisters could live free of fear and reach their full potential.

Living in Delhi, a scarf was always draped across my front. I rarely wore a skirt. When I walked outside I would place one hand across my chest and one hand near my groin ready to grab any sneaky hand that attempted to touch me. Female expats shared stories at dinner parties of being groped, laughing about it as part of our ‘Delhi’ experience. At least two of my colleagues suffered significant sexual assaults. As a single woman, it was unthinkable that I would bring a man home to stay overnight, lest I attracted the disapproval of my driver or the guards that kept an eye on my house and on whom I relied for protection.

This was my experience – an expat, relatively wealthy and protected. The small glimpses I had into the situation of my female staff were often more shocking. Their lives were controlled by their husband’s family with whom the inevitably lived. They arrived at work flustered and distressed after a bus journey filled with straying hands of male passengers. At least one of my team suffered serious abuse at the hands of her in-laws.

I am glad that, at last, the plight of women in North India is finally being addressed. It saddens me that it has taken the most extreme crime – a young girl viciously beaten with a metal rod, raped multiple times and then thrown from a moving bus – to finally motivate this movement. When I lived in India, I was shocked by the position of women. The epidemic of sexual assault of women in Northern India is not a new phenomenon and the ignorance of this situation has remained a deep frustration for me. 

The world is now discovering the same reality that I understood when I lived in Delhi – India is no democracy as long as women continue to be denied their freedom and suffer daily sexual abuse. But I am ashamed that, like many in Delhi, it took this most extreme of crime to motivate me to write about my experiences and join this movement. Let us hope that there will be a political and cultural shift to address attitudes to women in this country. May the ‘Daughter of India’ rest in peace, and may all other women who have suffered so terribly have the chance, at last, to enjoy their share of the freedom that is promised by India’s democracy.

BACK TO THE FUTURE ON NAURU AND MANUS ISLAND

Posted in Articles, Australia, Human Rights Ideas, News, Pacific, South Asia, Southeast Asia on January 16th, 2013
The UNHCR has criticized the Gillard government’s ‘Pacific Solution Mark II’ and refused to participate in processing refugees on Nauru and Manus Island. A UNCHR regional representative Rick Towle says it is difficult to make full and credible assessments of refugees in such remote locations, and comments “Australia may choose to transfer physically people to other jurisdictions, but we believe that under international law very clearly Australia is not absolved of its legal responsibilities to protect people through all aspects of the processing and solutions.”
 
See here for more information.

Campaign for Investigation into North Korea’s Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in Articles, Human Rights Ideas, Korea on October 8th, 2011

See here for original article at the Human Rights Watch website.

October 3, 2011

The world’s three largest international human rights organizations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), along with 40 other organizations from around the world, today launched a major global campaign to seek the establishment of a United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity in North Korea.

The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK), launched in Tokyo today, includes human rights campaigners from around the world, including Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe (see list below). Reflecting the global commitment to hold the North Korea government accountable for widespread and systematic violations, human rights organisations such as Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Jubilee Campaign, People In Need, Freedom House and the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea have joined forces with organizations such as Kontras (Indonesia), Odhikar (Bangladesh), Conectas (Brazil) and the Inter-American Federation of Christian Lawyers toput the spotlight on one of the world’s most abusive human rights situations. Survivors of North Korean prison camps, and their groups such as Free NK Gulag, added their support to the Coalition.

“The time has come for the UN to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity that characterize North Korea today,” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of Asia Division at Human Rights Watch. “We demand the world pull back the curtain on the egregious human rights violations that make the North Korean Governmentone of the most brutal regimes on earth.”

The initiative follows a two-day conference in Tokyo on crimes against humanity in North Korea, attended by human rights activists, survivors of North Korean prison camps, diplomats and members of the Japanese Diet and the South Korean National Assembly. Participants hearda video address by former South Korean President Kim Young Sam.Three survivors of the North Korean prison campsand family members of Japanese abductees also provided their testimonies.Other speakers included Japanese Member of Parliamentand former Minister of State for the Abduction Issue Hiroshi Nakai.

The Coalition will campaign for the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry, drawing on the words of the former UN Special Rapporteur, Vitit Muntarbhorn, who,in his final report to the UN demanded an “end to impunity” in North Korea describing violations as “harrowing and horrific,” “egregious and endemic,” and “systematic and pervasive.” He urged the international community to“mobilize the totality of the UN to promote and protect human rights in the country; support processes which concretise responsibility and accountability for human rights violations, and an end to impunity.”

On July8, 2010, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, condemning the North Korean Government for its “ongoing, grave, widespread and systematic human rights violations perpetrated against its own people.”

“Establishment of this important coalition will help move human rights to centerstage in all ofthe international community’s interactions withNorth Korea,” said Ha Tae Keung, President of Open North Korea.  “It’s critical that UN member statestake up this calland include language to establish a Commission of Inquiry in the coming annual UN resolution on North Korea.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The full statement summarising the objectives of the Coalition is as follows:

The International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea unites the world’s major international human rights organizations, campaigners for freedom for North Korea and survivors of the North Korean gulags in a global campaign seeking a full investigation of the regime’s crimes against humanity through a United Nations Commission of Inquiry.

The Coalition aims to bring together all the key organizations and individuals working on North Korean human rights, because we believe that a common, united effort will influence international political and public opinion and send a powerful message to the regime.

The Coalition fully recognizes the need to deploy a wide range of skills and initiatives to bring change to North Korea, and completely respects the individuality of each Coalition member. Coalition members will be free to pursue a variety of approaches, but will unite in a common campaign to seek the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry.

Coalition members will include organizations and individuals from across the world, including throughout Asia, North America, Latin America and Europe.

SOUTH KOREAN COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF TRADE UNIONIST

Posted in Human Rights Ideas, Korea, News on October 8th, 2011

Michel Catuira (m)

Migrants Trade Union’s (MTU) President, Michel Catuira, had his appeal against attempts by Korean authorities to deport him upheld on 15 September. Seoul’s Administrative Court ruled that the Korea Immigration Service’s (KIS) efforts to deport him were in violation of South Korean and international human rights law. The KIS appealed this decision on 30 September and continue to deny Michel Catuira a visa.

In February, the immigration authorities cancelled Michel Catuira’s work visa, and ordered him to leave South Korea by 7 March. Michel Catuira appealed this decision and applied for an extension to his visa, which was denied by the Korea Immigration Service. Michel Catuira then applied for a G-1 visa, which is typically granted to people who need to remain temporarily in the country in special circumstances but this request was also refused. Since the MTU was founded in 2005, the South Korean government has arrested and deported at least five of its leaders, indicating that the authorities are attempting to stop the MTU from conducting its legitimate union activities.

Seoul’s Administrative Court noted in its ruling that the Immigration Service’s motives for attempting to deport Michel Catuira may be linked to his union activities. It declared that foreign workers employed in South Korea must be afforded basic labour rights, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The Court cited international human rights instruments which South Korea is party to. This includes Article 8 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides the right of everyone to form trade unions and join a trade union of their choice.

After the ruling Michel Catuira visited the KIS and was told they were appealing the judgement, and so they continue to deny him a visa on the original grounds that he obtained his work visa by deception. Michel Catuira therefore remains without any visa and is technically still ‘undocumented’.

Please write immediately in English, Korean or your own language:

* Demand that the Korean authorities ensure an extension of visa status for Michel Catuira while the appeal against the ruling of the Administrative Court takes place, and refrain from carrying out his deportation order;

* Urge them to stop practices aimed at deterring or preventing migrant workers from participating in unions;

* Urge them to remove obstacles preventing participation in the MTU, in particular through fully recognizing it as a legal union in South Korea in line with domestic and international law and standards.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 15 NOVEMBER 2011 TO:  (Time difference = GMT + 9 hrs / BST + 8 hrs)

Commissioner of the Korea Immigration Service
LEE Changse
Korea Immigration Service
NC Building 8th Floor
1-19 Byeolyang-dong, Gwacheon
Gyeonggi Province 427-705
Republic of Korea
Fax: 00 82 2 500 9127/9059
Salutation: Dear Commissioner

Minister of Justice
KWON Jae-Jin
Ministry of Justice
Building #5,
Gwacheon Government Complex, Jungang-dong1, Gwacheon-si,
Gyeonggi-do  427-720
Republic of Korea
Fax: 00 82 2 503 7113
Email: webmaster@moj.go.kr
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Minister of Employment and Labour
LEE Chae-pil
Ministry of Employment and Labour
Gwacheon Government ComplexII
47 Gwanmoon-ro, Gwacheon
Gyeonggi Province 427-718
Republic of Korea
Fax: 00 82 2 504 6708
Email: molab506@moel.go.kr

 

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO

His Excellency Mr Mr Choo Kyu Ho
Embassy of the Republic of Korea60 Buckingham Gate
London SW1E 6AJ. Fax: (020) 7227 5503. Website:
http://gbr.mofat.go.kr

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Michel Catuira has been in South Korea since February 2006 as a documented migrant worker employed under the Employment Permit System (EPS). He was employed at a shoe factory in Seoul. He became President of the Migrants’ Trade Union (MTU) in July 2009.

In July 2010, the Ministry of Employment and Labour ordered him and his employer to appear for an interview under suspicion of a false employment relationship. The Ministry did not find any prosecutable violation of labour or immigration law. However, it found that Michel Catuira’s workplace, a shoe factory, had little business. As the main goal of the EPS is to provide foreign labour to companies with labour shortages, the Ministry sent a memo to Michel Catuira’s employer suggesting that they file a change of workplace form for him.

In November 2010, Michel Catuira was called to appear before an investigation team of the Korea Immigration Service on “suspicion of violation of the Immigration Control Act in the course of applying for a workplace transfer and with relation to actual performance of work duties at present”. The Immigration Service concluded that he was not working at the shoe factory; thus, the grounds for his work visa were “deceitful”, in breach of article 89.1 of the Immigration Control Act. On 10 February, the immigration authorities cancelled his visa, and on 14 February, he was told that he had until 7 March to leave South Korea.

Amnesty International believes that this was another attempt by the South Korean authorities to crack down on the activities of the MTU and to threaten migrant workers’ rights, in particular the rights to freedom of association and to form trade unions. The rights to independent association, collective bargaining and collective action are protected in the Constitution of South Korea and apply to everyone, without discrimination, including migrant workers.

PLEASE CHECK WITH THE INDIVIDUALS AT RISK PROGRAMME AT AIUK BEFORE SENDING APPEALS AFTER 15 NOVEMBER 2011

Individuals at Risk Programme, Amnesty International UK, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, 0207 033 1572, iar@amnesty.org.uk.

Call for compassionate approach to asylum seekers in Asia-Pacific

Posted in Australia, China, Human Rights Ideas, Japan, Korea, South Asia, Southeast Asia on October 8th, 2011

For the original report on the University of New England website please see here.

Call for compassionate approach to asylum seekers in Asia-Pacific

Researchers and human rights advocates meeting at the University of New England have pledged their support for replacing mandatory detention with the processing of asylum seekers within the Australian community.

Their resolution to this effect was an outcome of the international conference “Regional Responses to Labour Trafficking and Refugee Movements in Asia-Pacific” held at UNE on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September.

“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, defining their rights and States’ legal obligations to protect them,” said UNE’s Professor Amarjit Kaur (pictured here), the co-convener of the conference (along with Professor Ian Metcalfe). She said the conference resolution called for “the processing of asylum seekers in the community to replace mandatory detention in accordance with the Government’s ‘Detention Values Statement’ and in compliance with Australia’s obligations to international human rights conventions”.

“The general feeling among the participants was that the current approach of both of Australia’s major political parties – which relies on prolonged detention of many asylum seekers and ad hoc schemes for off-shore processing – is inhumane, counterproductive, massively wasteful of resources, and a violation of Australia’s responsibilities under international law,” Professor Kaur said.

A major focus of the conference was a comparison of the immigration policies of countries in the Asia-Pacific region over time, and an investigation of the causes and effects of immigration policies and their implementation.

Sharuna Verghis from Health Equity Initiatives, Malaysia, discussed the health-related vulnerability of migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia – a country, she said, with “a conspicuous lack of a comprehensive and coherent migration policy”. Robin Jones from UNE reported on the plight of the minority Karenni people from Burma who have fled persecution to arrive at refugee camps over the border in Thailand. Dr Jones, who spoke from her first-hand experience with the Jesuit Refugee Service, talked about “the general hopelessness that pervades camp life” and “the children’s behaviour – which demonstrates their emotional state and suffering”.

UNE’s Professor Helen Ware spoke about the experiences of Sudanese refugees coming to rural and regional Australia, while Judith Roberts from Northern Settlement Services and Kim Hastings from Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland focused on the New England region in discussing patterns of settlement under the Federal Government’s Settlement Grants Program.

On the subject of labour trafficking, Professor Kaur explained how government policies relating to migrant workers in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand had weakened the legal status of those workers – increasing their vulnerability to labour trafficking and people smuggling. Sister Margaret Ng from the Josephite Counter-Trafficking Project looked at trafficking in Australia, the Australian Government’s approach to trafficking and response to trafficked people, and the impact of trafficking on its survivors.

Other key speakers included Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne,  Professor Tessa Morris-Suzuki from the Australian National University (who focused on the situation in North-east Asia) and  Professor Farida Fozdar  from the University of Western Australia. Myat Mon from Thailand’s Assumption University described the situation of Burmese migrant workers and refugees in Thailand.  Four UNE PhD students presented papers on migrant workers and labour trafficking in Australia  (Melinda Sutherland), South Asia (Zahid Shahab Ahmed), Indonesia (Cakti Gunawan) and Macau (Pao Sio Iu), while Dr Zifirdaus Adnan (UNE) compared the labour-export policies of Indonesia and the Philippines. Dr Saroja Khrishnasawamy (Hunter New England Health and UNE) discussed mental health issues in refugee camps in Sri Lanka.

AUTHORITIES REFUSE PAPUAN POLITICAL PRISONER MEDICAL CARE

Posted in Human Rights Ideas, Southeast Asia on September 5th, 2011

Papuan political prisoner Kimanus Wenda is in urgent need of medical treatment. He has a tumour in his stomach, and needs to be transferred to a hospital to undergo an operation. Prison authorities have refused to pay for his transport and medical costs.

Kimanus Wenda is being held at the Nabire prison in Papua province, Indonesia. He has a tumour in his stomach and is constantly vomiting. Prison doctors have confirmed that he needs an operation; however, Nabire does not have the necessary medical facilities available. Kimanus Wenda needs to be transferred to Jayapura, also in Papua province, where he can receive the medical treatment he urgently requires. His family and lawyer have requested that he be transferred to Jayapura but the Nabire prison authorities have refused to cover the cost of his transport and medical treatment. Under Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prisons, all medical costs for treatment of a prisoner at a hospital must be borne by the state.

Kimanus Wenda has been ill-treated in detention in the past. During his arrest and interrogation in April 2003, he was reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated by military officers, who beat, kicked and stamped on him. On 25 May 2011 Kimanus Wenda was beaten by prison guards after he and another political prisoner, Linus Heluka, attempted to file a complaint about a prison officer who had insulted a Papuan prisoner. At least four prison guards beat Kimanus Wenda with a thick piece of rubber and kicked him. The guards also hit Linus Heluka on the head and hand.  Linus Heluka was then put in an isolation cell for two weeks.

Please write to emma.campbell@anu.edu.au by Thursday 8th of September confirming that you agree to put your name to a joint letter on this issue to the Indonesian authorities. Alternatively you can take action yourself:

*Please write immediately in English, Indonesian or your own language urging the authorities to:*
– Ensure that Kimanus Wenda receives full and immediate access to the proper medical treatment he requires;
– Allow Kimanus Wenda to travel to Jayapura to receive urgent medical care as recommended;
– Cover the cost of such treatment in accordance with the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 24) and Indonesian regulations;
– Immediately conduct an independent and impartial investigation into all allegations of torture or other ill-treatment by prison guards in
Papua and ensure that, should the allegations be verified, those responsible be brought to justice in fair trials and the victims receive
reparations; and
– Ensure that prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners meet standards provided for in Indonesian law as well as UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners.

*PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 OCTOBER 2011 TO:*
Head of Nabire Prison
Arif Rachman
Lapas Klas IIb Nabire, Jl. Padat Karya,
Nabire 98801, Papua,
Indonesia
Fax: +62 984 24721
*Salutation: Dear Arif Rachman *

Head of the Papuan Provincial Department of Justice and Human Rights
Daniel Biantong
Jl. Raya Abepura No. 37,
Kotaraja – Jayapura 99117,
Papua
Indonesia
Fax +62 967 586112
*Salutation: Dear Daniel Biantong*

*And copies to*:
_Director General of Prisons_
Drs. Untung Sugiyono
Ministry of Justice and Human Rights
Jl. Veteran No. 11
Jakarta Pusat
Indonesia
Fax: +62 21 384 1711

*Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. *

*Additional Information*

In April 2003 Kimanus Wenda was accused of attacking a military warehouse in Wamena, Papua province, an accusation which he denies.
According to his lawyers, he was arbitrarily detained at the barracks of the Wamena District Military Command 1702 by the military and police and initially denied access to a lawyer. There, he was reportedly tortured or otherwise ill-treated by military officers, including being beaten with a piece of wood, kicked on his chest, stamped on, and dragged around with a piece of rope around his neck. According to Kimanus Wenda, the ill-treatment continued while the police were interrogating him. A translator was not provided during the police interrogation, even though Kimanus Wenda did not speak Indonesian. He was forced to sign a confession he could not read. In January 2004 he was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for “rebellion” under Articles 106 and 110 of the Indonesian Criminal Code. He continues to suffer physically on account of the ill-treatment he experienced in 2003.

In December 2005 Kimanus Wenda was transferred to Gunung Sari prison in Makassar, South Sulawesi, thousands of miles from his family in Papua. While he was there he was forced to sleep on a cement floor. In January 2008 he was transferred to Biak prison, Papua and then to Nabire prison.  The Indonesian authorities have an obligation under national law and standards to provide medical treatment to all prisoners in the country. Article 17 of the Indonesian Government Regulation No. 32/1999 on Terms and Procedures on the Implementation of Prisoners’ Rights in Prison requires the prison authorities to provide adequate access to medical treatment. International standards also provide for medial treatment for prisoners. The UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
provides that prisoners needing treatment not available in the prison hospital, clinic or infirmary should be transferred to an appropriate
institution outside the prison for assessment and treatment. Furthermore, Principle 24 of the UN Body of Principles for the
Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment requires that prison authorities cover the costs of such treatment.

Amnesty International believes the denial of medical care to Kimanus Wenda could amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

ICRC – Safeguarding Healthcare Campaign

Posted in Background briefing, Human Rights Ideas on August 23rd, 2011

Violence against patients and health-care workers is one of the most crucial yet overlooked humanitarian issues of today. Read more about the ICRC’s worldwide Healthcare in Danger Project.