Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rights group to check detention cells

The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) will conduct checks on the detention cells of police stations, the courts and hospitals in the Yangon Region to determine if they comply with international human rights standards, said U Yu Lwin Aung, the organisation’s commissioner.

A guard closes a gate leading to Insein prison in Yangon. Photo - AFPA guard closes a gate leading to Insein prison in Yangon. Photo - AFP

A team led by U Yu Lwin Aung will go to the cells starting today (February 23) and observe the situation and conditions, before issuing a report that contains the findings, analysis and suggestions regarding the cells.

The report will then be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs, according to MNHRC office staff Ko Ye Naing Win.

The first visit will be to the police stations and courts at Hlegu township, along with Hlay Hlaw Inn and Min Kun working camp, all of which are scheduled for today.

The next visit will be on Monday, February 27, to the Thingangyun and South Okkalapa townships’ police stations and courts. The San Pya hospital’s cell will also be checked on that same day.

“We have been checking the cells and prisons in the other parts of the country but haven’t done it in Yangon for a while, so we decided to start this plan in Yangon this time,” said U Yu Lwin Aung.

He added that a similar investigation was done in 2015 and the MNHRC had worked together with the Ministry of Home Affairs in improving the human rights standards in the cells.

“We did a similar thing in previous years and also sent our suggestions to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry collaborated with us and they listened to our suggestions, such as changing the size of the entrance of cells from 2- to 3-foot high, to 6-foot high so that a person can enter properly without need to kneeling down,” said U Yu Lwin Aung.

Another two checks are scheduled for March 6 and 9, when the MNHRC will visit the police station cells at the Kyauktada, Latha and Twante townships together with the working camps, Shwe Thahtay and Taw Gyi Tan.

Last December, the MNHRC conducted a human rights training program to around 100 senior staff from prisons around the country. The training was developed following a joint effort between the commission and the Prisons Department.