Written by U Ne Oo on 2002-01-07

Dr U Ne Oo

18 Shannon Place

Adelaide SA 5000


January 7, 2002.

Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma

c/- Office of High Commissioner

8-14 Avenue de la Pais

1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Facsimile: (+41-22)917-9018

Dear Special Rapporteur:

re: Inquiry into massacres, deaths at prison labour camp and in custody in Burma

I am a Burmese national currently residing in Australia and I call the Special Rapporteur's attention, particularly, to deaths in prison labour camps, deaths in custody and the massacres in Burma. I wish the Special Rapporteur to include following cases to your investigation.

(1) The deaths of eleven prisoners at the Prison Labour Camp (5) at the Moulmein District: the report states that prison authorities egregiously mistreat prisoners, including forcing the prisoners to pull the plough at prison farm. Enclosed is the English translation of a news broadcast transmitted on the Internet over that incident, which include the names of deceased prisoners.

(2) The eye witnesses have reported the death of at least twenty prisoners on a same day in January 2001 at the ``Yaynetkwin'' Camp site, which is located at Nyaungdone-Danubyu motor road in Irrawaddy Delta. The government authorities were reportedly building for a Prawn and Fish Farming at that site, where the prisoners were required to work under severely hot and humid condition. Travelers have seen about 20 dead bodies of prisoners that were piled up by the road side before being taken away. I am also concerned by the reports that the government authorities detain persons without any charges and are being sent directly to the forced labour camps.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been in operation in Burma since 1998 and has limited access to Prisons and Labour Camps. However, the reported deaths of these prisoners indicate that the operation of the International Committee of the Red Cross alone is inadequate. I therefore request the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to be directly involved in monitoring prison and labour camp conditions in Burma.

I also ask the Special Rapporteur and High Commissioner to set up an inquiry into the deaths in custody of Mr. Nichols(1996) and U Thein Tin(1998), as has been recommended by Special Rapporteur Hon. Rajsoomer Lallah in report A/53/364 Para.(61) and extend the inquiry to the deaths in these prison labour camps. I ask the UN Commission to ensure adequate compensation be paid to the families of those died and government must punish those who are found responsible for the death of prisoners.

I have enclosed a list of 45 political prisoners known to have died in Burmese prisons since 1988. It does appears that some individuals within law enforcement as well as prison systems in Burma had given excessively harsh treatment to detainees, therefore resulting death to these prisoners. In some cases, there are evidences of prison authorities treat prisoners with clear intent to cause death or destruction of life. I appeal the listed cases also be included in the inquiry and actions should be taken against those who found responsible for their crime.

I also urge the UN Commission on Human Rights to investigate the massacre in Central Shan State in 1997. In April 1998, the Amnesty International reported that incident as (AI Index ASA:16/05/98):

"..from mid June to mid July 1997 some 300 Shan civilians were reportedly killed in a series of massacres by the Burmese military in Kunhing township, central Shan State. Observers speculated that these attacks were triggered by a massacre of 25 ethnic Burman civilians by an unknown Shan armed opposition group on 13 June 1997.. "

The high number of civilian deaths indicate that the incident in June/July 1997 in Shan State may not be considered as normal counter-insurgency operation.

On this occasion, I appeal you to give detailed attention to the list of 1,673 political prisoners compiled by Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) in Burma. In closing, I thank you for your efforts to improve the human rights situation in Burma.

Yours sincerely

Sd. U Ne Oo.

Copy to:

1. Mr Juan Somavia, Director-General, International Labour Office, CH 1211 Geneva 22, Switzerland.

2. Mr Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, UN Headquarters, United Nations New York NY 10017, USA.


A/53/364 Para.(61) "Further, the special rapporteur recommends that an independent inquiry be held into the circumstances of the death of Mr. Nichols in June 1996 and U Thein [Tin] in February 1998, while detained in Insein Prison, in the light of any evidence that may be gathered from fellow prisoners and prison officials and, indeed any other persons, so that action may be taken against the individuals who may have been responsible for their deaths or harsh treatment."

Mizzima News Group, 18 November 2001

Internet Broadcasts Translation

Deaths of Prisoners at the Labour Camps in Mon State

Witnesses report the death of prisoners at the Number (6) Labour Camp near Paineegone Village, Moulmein District in Mon State in southern Burma. At least one to three prisoners have perished daily at that camp site due to exhaustion, malnutrition, lack of medication or from the torture by prison authorities.

At the Number (5) Prison Labour Camp, also located at Moulmein District, there are about 2,000 prisoners who have been assigned to work at the quarry site. These prisoners are also required to plough the farm owned by the Labour Camp. On ploughing the field, two oxen are usually required to pull the device. However, at the Camp (5) FOUR prisoners are forced to pull the plough in the stead of oxen. Those prisoners who become ill and could not pull the plough, or simply could not move because of deep mud in the field, are beaten by authorities. At least one or two persons have died daily at the Camp (5).

Although the prisoners have been undergoing very hard working condition, the authorities do not provide with adequate amount of food. No medicine is given when prisoners become ill. There have been daily attempts by the prisoners to escape from the Camp. Prison authorities routinely shot the escapees and beat severely to those being re-captured. At the Prison Camp (6), there have been deaths of prisoners almost daily from gun shot wounds, lack of treatment on malaria and diarrhoea.

Mr. Tin Tun, who has escaped to Thai-Burmese border from the Camp (5) on 8 November 2001 testified numbers of prisoners who have died. They are (1) Mr. Maung Cho (Yetashe Town), (2) Mr. Tun Myint (Rangoon), (3) Mr Quasim (Kathar Town), (4) Mr Tin Myint (Pyinmanar Town), (5) Mr Aung Soe (Pegu Town), (5) Mr Aung Myaing (Mudon Town), (6) Mr Musa (Taungoo Town), (7) Mr Bardee (Thanbyuzayat Town), (8) Mr Aung Win Kyaw (Paan Town), (9) Mr Husen (Paan Town), (10) Mr Ye Win (Papun Town) and (11) Saw Tin Aung (Insein-Rangoon).

The original broadcast in Burmese Language (Wwin_Burmese.ttf)

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Letter to UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights