BURMA: Urgent humanitarian intervention needed for jailed monk 

An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to the President of Myanmar/Burma

U Thein Sein
President of Myanmar
President Office
Office No.18

Dear Mr Thein Sein

BURMA: Urgent humanitarian intervention needed for jailed monk

I am writing to you with an urgent humanitarian request concerning the current conditions of detention for Shin Gambira, a monk whom, as you will be aware, was imprisoned for his part in street demonstrations during 2007.

The Asian Human Rights Commission has been concerned about Shin Gambira’s health since we received information that he had been assaulted during a prison transfer and that he had been assaulted repeatedly at the Khandi Prison over the course of about a month, due to which he has been suffering from head and back injuries.

According to prisoners released from Kalay Prison on October 12, due to these injuries, Shin Gambira is suffering from fits, in which he frequently cries out in pain and clutches at his head. The prison authorities then have to hold him down to administer a drug via injection, perhaps a sedative, after which he goes quiet and falls unconscious. When he comes out of unconsciousness, he slurs his speech.

From these reports, we conclude that both the physical and mental health of this detainee is in a very precarious situation indeed. While maintaining the position that Shin Gambira ought to be released from prison without delay, as he has in our opinion committed no offences for which he deserves to be imprisoned, I urge you, regardless of other factors, to look into the case and arrange for his prompt transfer back to a facility in Yangon where he can receive appropriate treatment and also be close to his family.

The question of detainees’ health is, as you know, a humanitarian matter that transcends political issues. We trust that you will consider this case in that spirit and look forward to your prompt intervention. We also take this opportunity to again urge that the International Committee of the Red Cross be given unimpeded access to all places of detention in Myanmar in accordance with its international mandate.

Yours sincerely,

Wong Kai Shing
Executive Director
Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong

Copies to:
Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Naypyitaw
Minister of Home Affairs, Naypyitaw
Chairperson, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, Naypyitaw
International Committee of the Red Cross, Yangon
United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Geneva
United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Geneva
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office, Bangkok

Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OLT-013-2011
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Issues : Inhuman & degrading treatment, Prison conditions, Right to health, Right to remedy,