Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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Interview with AAPP-B (Assistant Association for Political Prisoners for Burma).....16 May 2013

Could you kindly explain me what is the major objective of Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)?
The main objective of AAPP is for constant supporting the family of the political prisoners, the support of the financial since we were also been in experience the prison life we know what need for them. Another core support is the mental support which is very much need for those to survive living in the prison if nobody concern on them consequently, they will have a problem themselves but if someone or their friends provide them the soft drink or water or a small fried shrimp paste, that means a lot to them and they know that everyone take care them. So AAPP is supporting the similar things.
We sustain the need of family particularly for financially and for their children we do support the Education which start from the elementary level to the higher education level ( University), yearly. We witness, some of the family become destroy by the tragic circumstances and since then they can’t effort their child to send to school.
And sometimes in the emergency case, we support for the Health when need to do the operation or urgently need to meet with the specialist, even though he or she is the formal political prisoners or presently in the prison, at those stage we support the medical aid through cash.   
Question :           : As you mention recently that AAPP do provide the mental support to Political prisoners , Can you briefly explain that how you do and is that included like counseling with the Psychiatric  ?
Now, we start doing the counseling in Mae Sote at headquarter of AAPP. Because in Myanmar if you do those counseling to Political Prisoners, it will widely criticize that you are healing the crazy people since the environment is very conservative. In Mae Sote we run this programme for almost 2 years already and what we find out during this time is not many people agree on that. Being as formal political prisoners, all the members of AAPP also think that we are good in every aspects since we are in good health, we can think, can live like normal people. So first we do survey with the criteria of normal person. What we found is all political prisoners are in trauma. We come to understand that something wrong in their mind but we don’t ever know our self. And we don’t even use to disclose our self or our emotion to the people around us. Mostly we solve it by making up our mind. Counseling is something very new to us. At the same time, before we start this programme , we need to mention to others what we are up to for the reason that in the Burmese culture doesn’t support and most of the people are reluctant to do the healing.
Now political prisoners in Mae Sote know counseling is different form healing the mental disorder people. At the first time we need to persuade that you are good in mental so that we would like to talk with you.  If you are in mental disorder, we cannot have you and so difficult for us to heal it. Like those kind of things, we explain them. So, in Myanmar, we suppose to do it at the end of this year. But not with the name of AAPP as AAPP cann’t do work in Myanmar cause there are many difficult conditions for us. But we will do mainly for counseling for those Political Prisoners ,also rehabilitation of their lives  which will educate the self business , education, and social life because most of them are arrest during their school age. So then we try to support for the educational aspects as well. However, for the business sector , we cannot afford that much. In Mae Sot we provide each one for the 10000 bTH  which is equally with 2 lacks and 70 thousand MMK from there to base with the amount to survive.
In Myanmar whatever the cases you are in prison, after get released the public is so sensitive about that . For example, in the case of applying the job which are unlikely preference for the employer and normally rejected . In addition, in re-attending the school , their names are in black list as a result it will also give a block for the better future . I just want to know you view on the public , are they need more knowledge and awareness not to discriminate those people?
I feel like, it becomes change  after the by-election. But when I was released in 2005, I obviously see that my friend are not friendly as used to and some friend who do business with the government frankly told me that, “In personally ,we don’t have such problem but we can’t be more close like as before.”  I  also realize in my environment who watch me over day and night suppose that I will do something in next. And another difficulty we faced is ,even in some place there is mass demonstration or bomb exploitation. We are accused. Base on my experience, I was again re-arrested for two times. So we are not insecure for every time.  My relatives told me that “why you choose this way since you don’t get money and no benefit for you.” But I don’t have any choice after got released from prison because I couldn’t attend the university nor do the business. So the only thing I can do is the politic. And I did apply the university but was rejected and also in the same way in applying the passport. In the past it was existd. Some people want to get job and we need to submit the application form and there it was frankly mention that were you in prison for the political inspective. And it is not good we lie at the paper. And the political prisoners are say yes and the form was automatically rejected. This is the government plan of using the public in order to oppress and block our futures.
For these days, I think now is the public change the perspective a lot . They become more friendly to the political prisoners and people are not conservative that much.
So now the political system in Burma is started changing, can I know how many member of the AAPP will go inside in the future?
I could say no one yet, since we want to go back officially because we want a space but now there are many problems inside. For example the government denied using the word of “political prisoners” and they announced like our organization as an unlawful , also confidently say “there are no political prisoners inside the jails of Myanmar”. According to our data there are still 448 persons. And they said they are not political prisoners since they broke the laws. So that’s kind of things we become clash in both side. There may be question why we don’t move yet inside because there is not so much change which guarantee us, the law in particular. We cannot trust on the lips services of the government, Law should guarantee us. Actually we really want to go back to our home land as we don’t want to stand on the land which we don’t belong to. We have family, relatives and home and properties in Burma. Now many groups from Thailand went back and we don’t have a position to say because it is up to them, but for AAPP, we still keep  doing the negotiation and demand the Laws which guarantee us so that we can maintain our work inside Burma since there are many political prisoner still.
Can you explain who or what inspire you to become politician?
Actually, I am very interested in reading since I was a child. When I was in school I learn the history of Myanmar such as biography of Bo Kote Aung San, and especially BKT. When I was in my first year in the university, I experiences the oppression on the students and I had an opinion that I would like to have an organization which is doing the rights of the student like to re built the All Burma KT but the gov announce that this t=is unlawful organization , so we need to participate like underground movement . at that time I am not that much aware the what is politic. So when I was arrested , I had a chance to meet with politicial in the prison. So we had the one objective that we are demand for the rights and we want changes in the Myanmar political system. And we have a chance to discuss and our struggle is for Democracy since this is the best system built by the human being. So I think is that what we are doing now is related with the politic.
And also I am witness the poverty in my environment and also police slap the civilian and those kind of thing I was thinking in the prison why it is happen and the arbitrary doing and no rule of law so that I understand that because of the bad political system in Burma and the military rule the sovergin power so if we have the civilian government, there will not be happened. So I put myself in this current of politic. I don’t think that I can change all the way but I think that I should do it
Now we can say that we have a constitution 2008 and our politic is quite changing a lot compare to the past and we can say that we are moving systematically in the boundary . So my question is what is your view on this current change?
We donot like 2008 constitution. But to appear the parliament and the freedom of expression is quite true as mention in the Democratic system. But just look carefully that what is control at the back of this constitution. For example- the law mentions that the military can take over the power any time , which they mention in the constitution . it is nonsense that even though the situation in the country are worse. And this constitution is written to protect the military thoroughly. So we are now finding the way to amend it. But how we can do since the military still have the power, obviously we can see in the Hluttaw.
And the previous thing cannot sue to the military whatever they did in the past. And this are totally far away from the democratic system. Since no one is above the law as said but these law which they made are protected to them. But in this time the NLD and some ethnic party are tried to amend it. We don’t know when will be that thoughts.
but we see some encouragement in these day since the media have been released. And journalist are allow in the parliament to take record or to interview the MP and those voice will reach to the people and will educate them from different perspectives. And I think people become understand what the mening of politic and people dare to demand their rights with the law boundary. So I think that if people keep doing like these kind of thing , I am quite sure that there will be a certain change in the next 10 years. That change may be good and bad since there is law the military to took power. However, if it is happened to rule the country again by the military, will the people still silence as before? I don’t think so.
Now some people say let’s start prepare for the coming 2015 election so that the civil societies try to educate the people ,for example how to vote ? and some knowledge of election . to ready the public. So for AAPP , do you have any preparation for the 2015 election?  
We saw some groups are doing for that . and it is really encouraging now the people from urban area came to know how to vote and those kind of things but our objective is only to assist the pp , we don’t have any role for that. But we are now trying to get the compasicate form the government as we suffer or give our lives illegally kept in the prison and haven’t commit any crime. We are supposed to educate to those pp about our rights.
Recently there is debates upon the judicial pillar, that it is over corrupt and doing worng things for example the judges are appointed by the government since that time most of the cases are dismiss and the judgment are made before the trial. In addition the money win all the case. So how to solve the problem is that changing the judge is possible or the system. What do you think?
So when they begin the state and announce the constitution, the judicial plays the main role since it can change the country. So more strangthern this is base on the law which is strong enough. Person is not important but the law is strong and there is rule of law even U than Shwe is there it is not important. But in our country the law change accordingly. In my experience, I was sentenced with readymade order. They get the envolopes from the superior and sentence me like that. So it show the dicision are made by the superior authority. Now is also like that , but these day the appearing of Media make it possible and they become conscious not doing as they like before. They allow for the public hearing what show they cannot do as they want.
Are you tortured during interrogation?
I think all the PP experience with torture. The thing for doing torture is they want the information from us like what get involve with us and what is our plan for next. But I think that beating someone to get information is I can accept for that. but now they beat us with hatred . Whether we give the information or not the beat us. I suffer 14 days for that. They didn’t consider us like human being and beating us like an animal. I just broke my nostril and my eye burn like a fire and finally some fluid flow down from eye retina since they blind folded me with the rubber ban ( tha ye pya) for 14 days. It was not me suffer these thing , it was all the political prisoners experience in it. And the government use the torture widely. Just a few days ago, Gam Shawng from Kachin State died in the hand of police because of several tortures which is not allow to do in the democratic countries. And torture should eliminate. For us is with the mental and physically torture.
What I wonder is inside Myanmar, there is no strong campaign for eliminating the torture in the interrogation center or in the police station. I just think that the country is for 50 years under dictatorship and now it’s for the time of opening up so that people are quite busy to learn what politic and democracy are. So they can’t really come to the this topic.
I think for example- if someone is arrested for stealing in the village, so people shout “there is a thief” and when they got him they punish him in the public. So in Burma social context, they accept that when someone is guilty and were beaten by a group of people. But most of the foreign countries don’t allow it to beat in the public. Why it is happen in our country is we think that the thief means a guilty person a criminal and the public should beat and punish him and we feel like it is reasonable to do. So our people need to change this kind of idea. So, I think that we have a responsibility to educate the public that no one should be punished or tortured.
So what is your opinion on the coming investment while the country is still instable and at the north the civil war is happening
Whatever the investment is coming or the other thing the essential thing is human recourse. So meaning is we need labours. Ok let see that our country has yet the proper labour law or not. We don’t have yet so that’s why the workers strike in every where. When there is not domestic law for protect the labour there will be still problems. And the investment law , vs to protect for the both side. We don’t want the investor like Chinese business man since they come and take every recourses. They don’t left the tenical  or recourses. So our government should think that what investment they prefer and which is good for the people. For example- car company, they come and make agreement for 30 years with the government. So the government should think that after 30 years what benefit our people get. And the government should do to settle the currency rate, if not it will be the challenge for the invester. So the legalistative body should be strong.  Any how the law establish that which guarantee the investor and the one who are invested and the ownership law after all those are properly going , than we can think how to invest. And also I don’t want to become my country like Cambodia which is like an NGO business zone since the satiation started change and a bunch of business dash into the country. And ordinary people life is not develop yet. And the country does’t have a strong policy. So that the investor get every thing and the local people don’t get any benefit. So I think that we need a strong law and before that we need a basic right for the people.
What do you think the inharmonic of the current changes as that government show some rapid reform but at the same time they announce to do under limitation? Like the government agree to do the domestic media to publish freely but on the other hand there is a law like electronic law is not abolish yet.
I think unless the ex- general still rule the country, there will be any time to re arrest people. But those will not take so long like before. But the suddern change of the system there will be again to power rule. And like the law 5 (10) those law should be remove. Those law are establish for the intention to those who interested for the politic.
Your opinion on the current civil war in Kachin state?
I aware that our country is formed with different ethnics. We can’t have the majority minded. And we agree to live together and then formed the country. Rather than arguing each other we need to discuss that how can we live properly and peacefully. And we need to do the federal system like US. If we use other system those kind of problem still continue. Need to form the trust building to each of the ethnic and if so the center government will rule the contry there should be a transparent how it will function. And I think it is enough for the civil war and why now it is continue Many people had paid their lives already from both sides. Those people never met before and why they need to fight against each other. If the policy of the suvergin change these soilder will live and walk together happily. Because of the beneficial for the land who own this and that. Actually the Burmese don’t oppress the minority but the military mostly we need to differentiate those two things. And also we need to gurentee the right for the indigenous people unless the war will happen more heavily
What do you want to remark at the last ?
It is very good programme you are heading and I would like to request to explain more around your environment that the Burma are not like the military dictatorship. Actually, I had been living with many ethnic groups since my childhood. Some of them understand that what we mean for but some don’t so we will have some misunderstanding. If you want to hate please do it to military who brought up the system not to the Burman. I accept that it is in every country that the majority dominate and sometimes bully to the small groups. But we should need to control those kinds of acts with law which guarantee that everyone has the same rights unless the law is strong enough there will happen . When I was with my colledge they always say that you are fighting for the HR . I replied that so the ethnic also fights for their rights. They don’t sometimes it is a violence
And the most important thing to understand is in our country we suffer for the oppresses which make by the military. So for the ethnic to defeat, it is the only way to fight against to respond  


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