For Immediate Release
1 May 2021
Burma/Myanmar Junta: Cease Systematic Use of Torture Practices in Military Interrogation Centers
The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) is deeply horrified and gravely concerned by allegations of systematic and widespread use of torture at military interrogation centers against activists and civilians arrested and detained by the military junta in Chin State.
Surviving victims of torture and eyewitnesses have described the practice of torture as almost ‘automatic’ once detainees are taken to the military interrogation and detention center at the headquarters of Tactical Operations Command No.1 under the Tatmadaw’s Northwestern Regional Command at Mount Rung in Hakha, Chin State.
Systematic torture practices are used by Burmese soldiers to extract information or forced confessions from people arrested for exercising their right to peaceful protest or other anti-junta activities, including for participation with the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM):
“Once inside the interrogation center, we are made to kneel down, hands tied behind our backs, blindfolded and forced to lie on our belly on the ground. That’s when the interrogation and beatings begin. Depending on how quickly the soldiers obtain the information they want, detainees are caned with up to 40 lashes, some detainees are made to dig holes in the ground to make them think that they are about to be killed and they are digging their own grave,” testified one former detainee who requested anonymity.
Torture is a prohibited act under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). Moreover, under Article 7 (1) (f) of the Rome Statute, torture can be considered a crime against humanity “when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack, with knowledge thereof, directed against any civilian population.”
As of May 1, more than 200 Chin civilians have been arrested by the junta, of which over 80 remain detained. The vast majority of those who have been released after their initial period of detention at the Tatmadaw base allege severe torture and other forms of degrading and inhuman treatment by the soldiers.
“The systematic use of torture was common practice under the previous military regime and well documented by CHRO. We condemn the use of torture against Chin civilians and call on the junta to stop the practice immediately,” said Salai Za Uk Ling, Deputy Executive Director of CHRO.
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