Committee advises EU to consider plight of political prisoners

Members of the scrutinising committee for remaining political prisoners advised the European Union (EU) to consider the current difficulties of political prisoners in drawing up their policy for human rights in Myanmar.
Delegations from the EU and the local civic bodies met at the EU office in Yangon on April 29 and held discussions on the human rights status of Myanmar, according to Bo Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and Ye Aung of the Former Political Prisoners Society (FPPS).
“Many organisations came and presented their actions for human rights violations in Myanmar, yesterday. We told them that there are still political prisoners in jail and some of them are tormented during interrogation,” said Ye Aung on Wednesday.
Bo Kyi echoed, “If the EU plans the policy to maintain human rights in Myanmar, we recommend them to focus on the plight of political prisoners. Similarly, other ethnic groups like Kachin and Rakhine stated the situation in their region.”
Designations from the EU listened and noted the presentations from local civic bodies rather than interacting.
At present, there are over 30 political prisoners in jail. To discuss matters on defining the terms of what constitutes a political prisoner and to discuss the release of remaining political prisoners, the committee along with the AAPP and the FPPS sent a letter requesting a meeting in May to Deputy Minister Aung Thein of the Presidential Office on April 24, but have not received a reply.
“The committee works slowly on this case. The government also seemed to hesitate on this matter for political concerns. In addition, we have no authority on our own . . . It is like we are just meant to follow the government’s orders. The government has to solve this first,” Bo Kyi continued.
The AAPP and the FPPS also met with Laetitia Bonnet, the leader of the research team on Myanmar for Indonesia-based Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR) at the AAPP’s office on April 29.
Bo Kyi and Zaw Moe from the AAPP and Ye Aung, Htun Kyi and Tin Maung Oo from the FPPS attended this meeting and discussed matters pertaining to the remaining political prisoners.
According to the FPPS, the profiles of 3,000 ex-political prisoners have been enumerated so far.