Acknowledgment and Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors is Key to Building Peace and Democracy

Acknowledgment and Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors is Key to Building Peace and Democracy

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, 26 June 2016

Acknowledgment and Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors is Key to Building Peace and Democracy

The Network for Human Rights-Documentation-Burma (ND-Burma), Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG), Ta’ang Women Organisation (TWO) and Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)are calling for acknowledgment and rehabilitation of torture survivors.

ND-Burma, WVG and TWO, AJAR are jointly organising a public event in Yangon to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The event aims at honouring and strengthening the voices of torture survivors in their struggle for accountability and dignity.

In Burma/Myanmar, torture against civilians takes place during police detention and interrogation, including of political prisoners, as well as in conflict and post-conflict zones in ethnic areas. Torture includes acts of sexual violence perpetrated by State officials. State institutions have an obligation to put an end to the practice of torture.

Survivors have a right to reparations. In particular, acknowledgment and rehabilitation should be a priority of the government. Urgent needs of torture survivors include: access to health care, psychosocial support (trauma healing) and socio-economic empowerment.

  • In order to demonstrate its commitment to eliminating the practice of torture, we call on the government of Burma/Myanmar toimplement the following recommendations:
  • Put an end to armed conflict and demilitarise ethnic areas, in order to free civilians from violence;
  • Release all remaining political prisoners unconditionally;
  • Sign and ratify the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and implement it into national legislation;
  • Acknowledge publicly the occurrence of torture in Burma/Myanmar and itsimpacton torture survivors;
  • Adopt a reparations policy that addresses the urgent rehabilitation needs of torture survivors, including access to health care, psychosocial support (mental health counselling) and socio-economic empowerment

Yangon, 26 June 2016
ND-Burma, WVG, TWO and AJAR

Contact persons:
– Ko Han Gyi, ND-Burma, + 66 (0)8 1961 5992
– Khin Mi Mi Khine, WVG, + 95 (0) 97 947 31415
– Lway Poe Jaing Kee, TWO, + 95 (0)933179 203
– Patrick Burgess AJAR , +95 (0)9 25 4413 447)

NOTES:

For more information, please see:

  • “The Legacy of Mass Torture and the Challenges for Reform in Myanmar”, Briefing paper, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG) and Legal Clinic Myanmar (LCM), April 2016
  • “’After Release, I had to restart my life from the beginning’, The Experience of Ex-Political Prisoners in Burma and Challenges to Reintegration”, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and the Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS), 25 May 2016
  • “To Recognise and Repair, Unofficial Truth Projects and the Need for Justice in Burma”, Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma), April 2015
  • “Extreme Measures: Torture and Ill-Treatment in Burma since the 2010 Elections”, ND-Burma, May 28, 2012 (link below)
  • “Trained to torture: Systematic War Crimes by the Burma Army in Ta’ang Areas of Northern Shan State”, Ta’ang Women Organisation (TWO), 27 June 2016

About ND-Burma
ND-Burma formed in 2004 in order to provide a way for Burma human rights organizations to collaborate on the human rights documentation process. Seven member organizations and nine affiliatesorganization seek to collectively use the truth of what communities in Burma have endured to challenge the regime’s power through present-day advocacy as well as prepare for justice and accountability measures in a potential transition. ND-Burma conducts fieldwork trainings; coordinates members’ input into a common database using Martus, an open-source software developed by Benetech; and engages in joint-advocacy campaigns. When possible, ND-Burma also collaborates with other human rights organizations in all aspects of its work. Please visit www.nd-burma.org

About WVG
Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG) is a community-based organization, which was created in 2009. Wimutti is a Pali word (Myanmar ancient literature), which means “freedom”. All of WVG members are socially minded volunteers. WVG is very active in communities doing social work, humanitarian support, and providing educational charity to children from poverty-stricken families. WVG is directly engaging with vulnerable people to create a healthy societal environment through research, advocacy, networking, and improving their collective capacity development. WVG has a special program for strengthening women former political prisoners.

About TWO
The Palaung Women’s Organization (PWO) was established in the year 2000 in response to the lack of women actively participating within other Palaung organizations. PWO changed the strategy to operate its activities more with local communities (remote area). Therefore, according to the 5th congress of PWO which conducted in Jan 2013 we decided to change our organization name as Ta’ang Women’s Organization (TWO) to operate our activities effectively closely with local communities. TWO was formed with the intention of educating and empowering women so that they could develop and strengthen their own self-determination and achieve equality of participation. TWO is involved in the struggle for democracy in Myanmar and works to promote women’s rights and human right in the communities. TWO’s mission is to advocate and advance the status of women in field of development and working forwards achieving gender equality, justice, peace and democratic society.

About AJAR
AJAR (Asia Justice and Rights) is a regional human rights organization based in Jakarta. AJAR works to increase the capacity of local and national organization in the fight against entrenched impunity and to contribute to building cultures based on accountability, justice and a willingness to learn from the root causes of mass human rights violations in Asia Pacific region.
Please visit: www.asia-ajar.org

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