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3/5): UNCHR REPORT, FEBRUARY 1996.
/* posted Fri 11 Oct 6:00am 1996 by DRUNOO@xxxxxxxxxxxx in igc:soc.culture.burma */
/* ---------------" UNCHR Report, 5 February 1996 (3/5)"---------------- */
[ U.N. Commission on Human Rights report on 1996 is posted here for your
reference. The Official records of U.N. documents may be found in your
public library. -- U Ne Oo.]
I. ACTIVITIES OF THE SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR
[I.B] 10. Visits to Myitkyina in Kachin State and
Kyainge Tong in Shan State
78. Prior to his departure for Myanmar, in a letter addressed to the
Government of Myanmar, the special Rapporteur requested to visit the Mong
Kwan electric power plant in Shan State and Myitkyina-Sumprabom Road or
Myitkyina-Shibwe Lawkhaungng Road in Kachin State.
79. Once in Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur was told that, owing to weather
conditions and difficulties of access, he could not visit the construction
site of the Myitkyina-Sumprabom Road or Myitkyina-Shibwe Law khaungng Road.
Instead, on 14 October 1995, he was taken to the construction site of the
"Ayayarwady Bridge". The bridge will link Sitapu and Mine Nar in order to
connect the city of Myitkyina with the other side of the river. According
to the managing director of the project, 250 workers were involved in the
project. All of them were labourers from lower Myanmar and were paid 3,000
kyats per month. they were provided by the Government with free
accommodation and rice.
80. On 15 October 1995, the Special Rapporteur travelled to Kyainge tong in
Shan State. Instead of the Mong Kwan electric power plant, the Special
Rapporteur was taken to visit the Nam Wop hydroelectric project, a small
hydroelectric station located 10 miles south of Kyainge Tong. The project
started in January 1992 and was completed in July 1994. According to the
managing director of the project, inhabitants of surrounding villages were
involved in the construction of the site. They were paid 20 kyats per day
and were provided with food. In response to an inquiry from the Special
Rapporteur, the managing director stated that none of the workers was
forced to work on the project. He added that some farmers preferred to
leave because that was economically more attractive to them.
82. On 16 October 1995, the Special Rapporteur had the opportunity to
visit, in Kyainge Tong, a nursery school, a boarding school for the orphans
of victims of insurrection along the border and a technical school for
young women. All these institutions were initiated by the Ministry for the
Progress of the Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs in
order to carry out a comprehensive integrated socio-economic development
programme in the border areas.
83. The Special Rapporteur wishes to note that while in Myitkyina and
Kyainge Tong, he generally observed that there were visible signs of
relaxation of tension in the life of the people. There were many consumer
goods in market places where many shoppers crowded.
C. Visits to camps in Thailand
84. Following his visit to Myanmar, the Special Rapporteur travelled to the
Thai side of the frontier in order to meet with persons from Myanmar living
in camps which skirt the Myanmar-Thai border. The visit to Thailand was
conducted between 17 and 20 October 1995. The two camps visited were in
driving distance from Mae Hong Son and Mae Sariang respectively. It is
believed that approximately 80,000 persons who have fled My;anmar are
living in similar camps in the border area. During the above-mentioned
visit, the Special Rapporteur met with a total of 35 newly arrived persons
from Myanmar, mostly Karen, karenni and Shan. All interviewees were able to
provide recent information on the situation in Myanmar, especially in the
border area. Most interviewees were in poor physical and psychological
condition. the information and views obtained in the course of his visits
will be reflected below under relevant subject headings.
A. Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
85. As noted in his interim report to the General Assembly at its fiftieth
session (A/50/651), the Special Rapporteur did not this year receive
information of an explicit or systematic government policy encouraging
86. However, there continued to be credible reports of instances of
brutality, sometimes resulting in the killings of civilians, by Myanmar
military forces under a variety of circumstances. this is often the case in
the border areas where ethnic insurgencies have been taking place. Many of
those allegedly killed were civilians who were accused either of being
insurgents or of collaborating with insurgents.
87. Other reports from non-governmental sources have described cases of
civilians who were allegedly executed when they resisted becoming porters
for the Army or were beaten to death while being used as porters. The Army
is also reported to have executed civilians for failure to provide goods or
services demanded. These would include labour, food, money or arms.
88. In addition to the reports received by the Special Rapporteur alleging
summary or arbitrary executions, he himself interviewed persons, during his
visit to the refugee camps in Thailand, who claimed that either members of
their families had been killed or severely injured as a conse2quence of
attacks by the Myanamr Army, or that they had themselves been victims of
such human rights violations.
89. Some cases of reported summary or arbitrary executions were described
in paragraphs 3 to 5 of the interim report of the Special Rapporteur to the
General Assembly at its fiftieth session (A/50/568 of 16 October 1995).
these cases included allegations of: severe torture causing the death of
the victims; the killing of civilians of having disobeyed orders from the
Army (Tatmadaw) to relocate their homes, to supply goods or provide labour
for little or no compensation; arbitrary "revenge" killings of persons
from villages near to the locations of attacks carried out by insurgent
forces against the Tatmadaw. Collective and arbitrary punishments are often
said to include summary executions of civilians present in the area.
90. In response to the request of the Special Rapporteur to be provided
with information describing any investigations undertaken by the Government
into these allegations, the Government of Myanmar replied as follows:
"No instances of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution can
be permitted in the Union of Myanmar and no provision is made in
the law for such."
91. Although the Special Rapporteur is aware that sometimes reports of
arbitrary killings tend to be exaggerated or distorted, that there are
cases of good treatment of villagers and captured insurgents by the
Tatmadaw soldiers, that instances of such violations appear to be
decreasing and that the insurgents also commit serious violations of human
rights, he cannot deny, in vie wof so many detailed and prima facie
reliable reports, that violations appear to be committed consistently by
the soldiers of the Myanmar Army against innocent villagers (particularly
those belonging to ethnic minorities) in the form of summary or
extrajudicial executions and arbitrary killings, which often occur in the
course of forced labour, rape, forced relocation and confiscation of
92. In relation to some specific cases, the Special Rapporteur draws
attention to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary
or Arbitrary Executions (E/CN.4/1996/4). In this connection, the Special
Rapporteur is aware that the Government of Myanmar has recently responded
in detail to most of the allegations transmitted by the Special Rapporteur
on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
B. Arbitrary arrest and detention
93. As stated in his interim report to the General assembly at its fiftieth
session (A/50/551), the Special Rapporteur noted with satisfaction the
release of 1995 of some detainees, among whom were pre-eminent NLD leaders.
Dr Aung Khin Sint and Tin Moe were among a group of 23 prisoners freed on
24 February 1995 from Insein Prison. The Special Rapporteur welcomed the
release, on 15 March 1995, from various centres of detention of Myanmar of
31 detainees, including U Kyi Maung and U Tin Oo. U Tin Oo, a retired
general and one of the founders of the NLD was arrested on 20 July 1989;
the Special Rapporteur met him twice in Insein Prison in 1993 and 1994. U
Kyi Maung, a retired colonel, was the Chairman of the NLD during the 1990
elections. He was arrested in September 1990 for allegedly passing on
material to foreigners. The Special Rapporteur also welcomed with great
satisfaction the announcement, made on 10 July 1995, that restrictions on
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were being lifted by the Government of Myanmar and
that she had been released without conditions.
94. However, despite the reported release of over 2,000 political detainees
since April 1992, hundreds of other political prisoners are still serving
long jail terms and other citizens continue to be arrested for the peaceful
expression of their opinions and ideas.
95. In February 1995, nine young activists, namely Aung Zeya, Tin Than Oo,
Nyunt Myaing, Moe Maung Maung, Maung Maung Oo, Moe Myat Thu, Moe Klayar Oo,
Cho Nwe Oo and Aye Aye MOe, were arrested for having reportedly chanted
slogans during U Nu's funeral. By letter dated 5 September 1995, the
Special Rapporteur requested the Government of Myanmar to provide
information regarding their present situation. In its note verbale dated 4
October 1995, the Government provided the Special Rapporteur with the
following response to the above inquiry:
"Action is being taken against them under section 5(j) of the 1950
Emergency Provisions Act for having created disturbances at the
funeral with the aim of disrupting it and for having instigated the
people to unrest. There should exist no anxiety or fear of torture
or ill-treatment in detention as such practices are strictly
prohibited in the Prison Manual and the Police Act, and the
authorities concerned scrupulously follow the regulations laid
96. In mid-June 1995, three political party leaders, namely U Thu Wai and U
Htwe Myint (respectively former Chairman and Vice-chiarman of the now
defunct Democracy Party) and U Tun Shwe, were also arrested for having
allegedly met with foreign residents. Responding to the Special
Rapporteur's inquiry about their situation, the Government of Myanmar
provided, in its note verbale dated 4 October 1995, the following response:
"U Tun Shwe, U Thu Wai and U Htwe Myint were charged under section
5(j) of the Emergency Provisions Act for collecting and
distributing anti-government seditious pamphlets, and were
sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 3 July 1995 after due
process of law. Action was taken against these individuals not
because of their contacts with resident foreigners as alleged, but
because they transgressed existing laws."
97. On 27 September 1995, Ye Htut, a 27-year-old student, was arrested in
Yangon for having allegedly sent "incriminating documents" about Myanmar to
dissident Burmese groups based outside the country.
98. On 18 November 1995, among the crowd which gathered that day to listen
to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's speech, the Special Rapporteur has been informed
that three NLD members, namely Toe Aung, Manug Aye and Myo Zoe, were
arrested for having allegedly intervened with the police who were erecting
barricades in front of her house. According to the information received,
the three persons were charged with assaulting a police officer and were
reportedly sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
99. Most recently, on 16 December 1995, U Sein Hla Aung, a 45-year-old NLD
member was reportedly arrested near his home in Mandalay for having
distributed videos of the weekend gatherings which have been taking place
regularly outside Aung San Suu Kyi's home since her release in July 1995.
Due Process of law
100. In its note verbale dated 4 October 1995, the Government of Myanmar
provided the Special Rapporteur with the following general response to his
enquiry with regard to due process of law during and after trials in
"In the Union of Myanmar, a person cannot be arrested and detained
if it is not in accordance with the law. It is provided in section
61 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that no police officer shall
detain in custody a person for a period exceeding 24 hours. Where
it is necessary to detain such an accused for more than 24 hours,
special order of a magistrate has to be obtained under section 167
of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The arrested person has the
right of defence and the right to have legal defence counsel.
Moreover, the arrested or detained person has the right to apply
freely for bail to the magistrate concerned and the court may grant
him bail according to the merits of the case."
101. In spite of the Government's position with regard to certain cases,
and based on information received from several independent reliable
sources, the Special Rapporteur considers that the notion of "due process
of law" as defined particularly in terms of articles 10 and 11 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally not respected in
Myanmar. On the contrary, information and testimony received reveal a
consistent, if not routine, failure to respect due process. Numerous
testimonies alleged the absence of counsel during trial, the absence of
time and support to prepare a defence and all other such attendant
guarantees. In addition, there is not proportionality between offences
committed and punishments applied, particularly in political cases where
sentences of 7 to 20 years have been given for what could be described as
peaceful political activity, such as the distribution of leaflets,
criticism of the Government and appeal for democratic process in the
National Convention deliberations.
102. The following are some examples. According to reliable sources, the
Special Rapporteur was informed that in June 1995, subsequent to the
arrrests of U Tun Shwe, U Thu Wai and U Htwe Myint, their families did not
know where they had been taken. Later they were reportedly sent from the
Military Intelligence Interrogation Centre to Insein Prison.On 3 July 1995,
all of them were taken to Bahan Township court and summarily sentenced to
seven years' imprisonment. It was further reported that lawyers were not
allowed to contact the defendants for consultation, nor were defence
lawyers present at the trial. Only after they had been sentenced were the
three men told that they might appeal if they wished. But even for this
purpose they have not been allowed to meet their lawyers. they could only
sign statements to the effect that their lawyers might act for them.
103. With regard to the three NLD leaders arrested on 18 November 1995 in
front of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house, the Special Rapporteur was informed
that only 48 hours passed between their arrest and their sentencing.
Although the Special Rapporteur has no details of the trial proceedings, it
would appear that the accused could not possibly mount an effective defence
with regard to the legal and factual basis for their arrest and
incarceration in such a short time.
104. In the regions of the country with a predominantly non-Burman
population, reports from various reliable sources continue to describe how
an unknown number of civilians have been arrested as suspected insurgents
(or sympathizers therewith) and how they remain detained in the countryside
jails. It is reported that the few prisoners who gained access to defence
counsel had to rely on "defenders" who were inadequately-trained government
officials. In some areas, civilians were often summarily tried for minor
offences, as well as for robbery, rape or murder, while military personnel
who committed the same crimes were rarely punished.
105. The following are the detailed charges against 15 Members of
Parliament mentioned in the summary of allegations received by the Special
Rapporteur from the Government of Myanmar in its note verbale of 4 October
U Ohn Kyaing "Sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 17
October 1990 for sending a letter defying the
authority of the Government;
Sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on 15 May 1991
for co-authorship of a seditious paper entitled
'Three ways to attain power'."
U Tin Htut "Sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 15 May
(Einme-1) 1991 for co-authorship of a seditious paper
entitled 'Three ways to Attain Power'."
U Win Hlaing "Sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment on 30 April
U Naing Naing 1991 for their involvement in organizing a meeting
U Mya Win for setting up an illegal parallel Government."
U Hla Tun
U Tin Aung Aung "Sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment on 30 April
U Zaw Myint Aung 1991 for their involvement in organizing
U Zaw Myint a meeting for setting up an illegal parallel
U Hla Than Government."
Dr. Myint Aung "No person by the name of Dr. Myint Aung has been
U Tin Soe "Sentenced to two years' imprisonment and was fined
300 kyats on 25 August 1993 for criminal trespass
into U Khin Htay's premises at No. 107, Myanma Gon
Ye Street, Mingala Taung Nyunt Township in October
1992. In the course of a squabble between them over
the sale of an apartment, U Tin Soe used abusive
language and take photographs without the latter's
express consent. U Khin Maung Htay reported the
incident to the Mingala Taung Nyunt Police Station,
whereby U Tin Soe was charged by the police under
sections 447, 294 and 506 with criminal trespass.
The Court found him guilty of the charge. Released
from detention on 9 March 1995 upon completion of
U San Win "Sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment on 23 August
1991 for misappropriation of teakwood which was to
be supplied to the Thanlyin bridge project."
U Khin Maung Swe "Sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on 6
U Sein Hla Oo October 1991 for their collaboration with Dr. Khin
Zaw Win in writing and distributing false news that
would jeopardize the security of the State."
Prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT: E/CN.4/1996/65, PARA 78-105.