Women Political Prisoners in Burma: Joint Report

Wednesday, September 1, 2004
South Eastern Asia

The military government consistently denies that Burma has no political prisoners. However, many people are arrested in Burma because of their participation in politics, and international organizations point out that there are many political prisoners in Burma.
Amnesty International (AI), having visited Burma in April 2004 for the second time, reports that Burma has some 1350 political prisoners. United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteur to Burma, Paolo Pinheiro, stated that Burma has more than 1300 political prisoners. In April 2004, he again demanded their freedom.

There are several women among those prisoners. The junta arrests women for many different political reasons. As in 1988, women have been arrested for participation in nonviolent demonstrations. They have also been arrested for campaigning that is perceived as a threat to national security. In 1995, three women were arrested and received five year imprisonment because they wore yellow t-shirts on which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's photo was printed. In 1998, military intelligence personnel arrested Thaw Dar, a young woman running a photocopy shop in Rangoon. Later, she was accused of copying student union publications and was sentenced to 42 year imprisonment. Some women have been arrested because their politically active husbands were away from home.

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AAPP, BWU, Women Political Prisoners in Burma: Joint Report, 2004