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Statement No. (5/2015) The visit by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission team to the prisons and detention centres in Sittwe and Buthidaung townships in Rakhine

By Myanmar National Human Rights Commission  •  April 30, 2015
  1. A team from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission comprising members U Zaw Win, Dr.Nyan Zaw, Daw Mya Mya and staff visited the prisons and detention centres in Sittwe and Buthidaung townships in Rakhine State from 2-6 April 2015.
  1. The team examined the prison records, inspected the cells and conducted interviews separately with some prisoners and detainees.
  1. The findings of the team are:-

(a)       There are still detainees under the Deportation Order who have already served 2 years term in Sittwe and Buthidaung prisons.

(b)       The water treatment plant located outside Buthidaung prison lacks sanitation both in the exterior and interior parts of the plant.

(c)       Buthidaung and Sittwe prisons face a shortage of security and medical personnel.

(d)       Both Buthidaung and Sittwe prisons have to cope with numbers far in excess of the capacity of the prisons.

(e)       The entrance to the detention centre in Buthidaung Police Station is much too narrow.

(f)        Buthidaung Police Station detention centre has poor ventilation and lighting, bad odours and the floors are torn and damaged.

(g)       The floors of Sittwe Police Station detention centre are decayed and torn, dirts and betel stains are everywhere, the latrines are dirty and there are no doors on the latrines.

(h)       It was found out that the detention centre in Sittwe Police Station has Police personnel detainees who have action taken against them under the Myanmar Police Force Maintenance of Discipline Law and who will be reinstated once the sentences have been served, locked up together with other detainees.

Recommendations of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

  1. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission would like to recommend the following with regard to Buthidaung prison:-

(a)       The prison authorities should consult with the immigration department for speedy repatriation of (45) expatriate detainees, under deportation order, who have been under detention for an extended period of more than (2) years even after serving the sentences.

(b)       For sanitation of the water treatment plant of Buthidaung prison, a water basin should be installed for hand washing at the entrance to the plant, separate foot wears should be provided for use in the plant, the cover of the filtration tank should be opened only when necessary and a main gate should be installed at the plant entrance.

(c)       To fill the vacancies for nurses and doctors at the Buthidaung prison.

(d)       To make arrangements for transfer to appropriate prisons, a female detainees suffering from epilepsy and a male detainees with goiter.

(e)       To separate the detainee patients affected with tuberculosis from other patients, and with their consent test the tuberculosis patients for HIV.

(f)        To coordinate and consult with prosecution department and courts for speedy disposal of cases involving detainees who have been in detention for a long period.

(g)       For whole families undergoing imprisonments, assistance should be provided within the purview of the law for early release of family member prisoners with lesser jail terms.

(h)       Eradication of mice, mosquitoes, flies and bugs should be carried out systematically in the male prison cells.

  1. With regard to Sittwe prison, MNHRC would like to recommend that the following measures should be taken:-

(a)       Effective medical treatment should be given to infirm male/female prisoners.

(b)       Running water should be provided for day-latrines in the cells.

(c)       The latrines in the cells should be provided with covers.

(d)       Regular check up should be carried out on prisoners working as cooks for contagious diseases and also for personal hygiene.

(e)       To coordinate and consult with prosecution department and courts for speedy disposal of cases involving detainees who have been in detention for a long period.

(f)        Arrangements to be made for expeditious in-house appeal matters for prisoners with severe penalties including death penalty within the proscribed timeframe.

  1. With regard to the detention centre of Buthidaung Police station, MNHRC recommends that the following steps should be undertaken:-

(a)       The entrance door to the detention centre should be renovated and air vents should be installed.

(b)       The floors of the detention centre should be repaired, paintings should be applied and lighting, water supply and latrines should also be repaired.

  1. With regard to the detention centre of Sittwe Police station, the following were recommended:-

(a)       The detention centre needs to undergo repairs. Doors should be installed in the latrines.

(b)       Police personnel detainees who have action taken against them under the Myanmar Police Force Maintenance of Discipline law and who will be reinstated once the sentences have been served should be detained separately.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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