HURFOM: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

June 26, 2017

Today Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM) commemorates International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. HURFOM wishes to express our solidarity with the many survivors of torture around the world.

In doing so we wish to show our concern regarding the ongoing torture of civilians and political prisoners throughout Burma/Myanmar. We are particularly troubled by the reports of violence and the systematic torture and rape of individuals in northern Rakhine State and during the ongoing conflict in northern Kachin and Shan states by Burma/Myanmar army soldiers. In addition, we are deeply disturbed by a recently released video purporting to show Burma/Myanmar soldiers beating six men under interrogation. Furthermore, HURFOM calls for greater attention to the torture and abuse of political prisoners during interrogation and imprisonment, as highlighted by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS) in their joint report outlining commonly used physical and psychological torture tactics.

Over the last 23 years, HURFOM has documented the extensive use of torture and sexual violence as a weapon by the Burma/Myanmar army, Burmese police, and administrative figures, as well as by members of Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO) in Mon State and Mon areas of southeast Burma/Myanmar. HURFOM has collected numerous reports of Burma/Myanmar army soldiers beating villagers, arbitrarily arresting them, and in some cases summarily executing individuals if they were believed to have any connection to an EAO. In addition, HURFOM has extensively reported on the systematic rape and sexual assault of women with impunity by Burma/Myanmar army soldiers, Burmese police, and administrative figures. In one sub-township alone in Mon State, HURFOM has identified 127 cases of rape or sexual assault by soldiers, police officers, and government administrators over a ten-year period. This abuse and exploitation by Burma/Myanmar soldiers and officials has been a driving force for villager displacement and the large populations of ethnic nationalities in IDP or refugee camps along the Thai-Burma/Myanmar border.

It is time for the Burma/Myanmar government to demonstrate its commitment to peace-building and national reconciliation by recognizing past incidents of abuse and torture, immediately stopping further abuses, and ending impunity by bringing perpetrators to justice.

“By looking at the facts and evidence that we have documented, we can say that torture is systemic and a continuation of a long trend of abuse committed by the Burma/Myanmar government army and some administrative units in the country. However, there is still no accountability and rehabilitation services available for the victims or their families.

 

We call for a reparations policy for victims, the ratification of the Convention Against Torture, plans for prison reform, and the repeal of repressive legislation such as the Unlawful Association Act that target human rights defenders and ethnic minorities.”

Nai Aue Mon, Program Director, HURFOM

Recommendations
The Burma/Myanmar government and military must:

  • End all military offensives against ethnic nationalities and immediately cease all activity that leads to human rights abuses, including torture and maltreatment, and withdraw all Burma/Myanmar army troops from these conflict areas;
  • Sign and ratify the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and ensure obligations under the CAT are met in order to prevent further torture and abuse from occurring;
  • End impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses and establish an accountability system for perpetrators of torture, including an independent judiciary while guaranteeing fundamental human rights consistent with the constitution and with international human rights standards;
  • Enact meaningful reform of the prison and security sector, particularly the police and military;
  • Release all remaining political prisoners without conditions and without delay;
  • The National League for Democracy government must establish a reparations policy which recognizes victims of state-led torture and abuse and must implement rehabilitation programs.

Local community-based organizations and the international community should:

  • Continue to raise awareness of the use and prevalence of torture, using the media and other means;
  • Continue to document the extent of human rights violations committed against individuals and communities.

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