BURMA: New campaign page launched for jailed torture victim

(Hong Kong, October 27, 2010) The Asian Human Rights Commission on Wednesday launched a new campaign webpage on the case of Phyo Wai Aung, who is being unjustly tried over a bombing in Burma during April over which he denies any involvement. 

Police officers tortured Phyo Wai Aung severely for more than a week to force him to confess. He has since been subjected to various forms of abuse, including extended solitary confinement. 

The webpage contains materials on the case in English and Burmese, including appeals, commentary and links to other relevant contents. It can be accessed at: http://www.humanrights.asia/campaigns/phyo-wai-aung/

In August the sister organisation of the AHRC, the Asian Legal Resource Centre, submitted a 66-page special dossier to a group of United Nations human rights experts on recent cases of extreme, prolonged torture by police officers in Burma, including the case of Phyo Wai Aung. 

Referring to the case in his report to the UN General Assembly of September 15, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, said with reference to the case of Phyo Wai Aung that he “has repeatedly noted his concern about the use of torture during interrogation and detention of prisoners of conscience as well as other prisoners” in Burma. 

“The Special Rapporteur again draws the attention of the Myanmar authorities to the existence of a body of internationally accepted standards and principles in the area of human rights in the administration of justice, including the treatment of prisoners, role of lawyers, role of prosecutors, independence of the judiciary and conduct of law enforcement officials, which must guide the authorities to ensure fair trials and due process of law,” the independent United Nations expert added on the case. 

Burma has not joined either the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the Convention against Torture. 

However, as the AHRC pointed out in interventions on the case, torture is under international law a norm from which no country is permitted to derogate, irrespective of whether it is has joined human rights treaties or not. 

The Hong Kong-based regional rights group has been extensively studying and documenting the criminal justice system in Burma and how it is used as a device to further and exacerbate abuses of basic human rights. 

In June, the ALRC submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council with an outline of key concerns, under the Universal Periodic Review process. That report and annexe are available online at: http://www.alrc.net/doc/mainfile.php/upr/ 

For media inquiries: 
In English: Basil Fernando, +852 2698 6339 
In Burmese: Min Lwin Oo, +47 9843 4085

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PRL-023-2010
Countries : Burma (Myanmar),
Issues : Torture,