To date, government efforts to assist former political prisoners (FPPs) to acclimatize and reintegrate into society have been largely nonexistent in Burma. The effects of this inaction have, and continue to be hugely detrimental for the FPPs, their families, and for transitional justice efforts in the country. This inaction has become even more pressing since the government of Burma began releasing hundreds of political prisoners1 in a wave of amnesties following the 2011 political reforms.
There are between 7,000 and 10,000 former political prisoners residing inside Burma, however very little is known regarding their current economic and social status, nor is there comprehensive data concerning their experiences inside the prison system. From March 2014 to date, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)’s Documentation Project, with the support of the Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS), has been implementing an ongoing and vast data collection process both inside Burma and along the Thai-Burma border. The data collection aims to address three purposes: to collect census data of the FPPs that participated in the surveying; to understand the extent of the torture and mistreatment they faced whilst in prison; and to conduct a thorough needs assessment of the FPP population to provide the empirical basis for future interventions and rehabilitation programs.
The Documentation Project seeks to conclude with the release of two final and comprehensive publications based on the entire data collection in the first half of 2015: on the systematic use of torture and mistreatment of political prisoners; and on identifying needs of former political prisoners and building the case for reparations as key to transitional justice in Burma.
This report aims to provide an overview of the Documentation Project to date. The first section describes the methodology of the data collection, entry and cleaning process; the second section reveals the initial findings of the data analysis; and the third and final section outlines the next steps of the Documentation Project.
For more information, please contact
Bo Kyi +66 (0) 81 962 8713
Thet Oo +95 (0) 97 310 7933