Statement on the visit to the prison, court lock-up, police lock-up and the guard ward in Loi-Kaw Township, Kayah State Statement No. (3 /2016)

  1. A team from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission comprising of Members U Zaw Win and Daw Mya Mya accompanied by two staff members visited the prison, court lock-up, police lock-up and the guard ward in Loi-Kaw Township, Kayah State from 9 to 11 March 2016. The team interviewed 20 male inmates, 9 female inmates, 5 male detainees and 2 female detainees.

The findings of the team

  1. The findings were as follows:-

(a)     Loi-Kaw Prison

(i)      With the minimum measurement of 18 square feet per inmate, the prison could accommodate 409 inmates, but at the present moment in time there were 518 inmates resulting in overcrowding.

(ii)    According to the organizational set up, the assistant medical officer post was vacant.

(iii)   The water for washing and cleaning was pumped direct from Ba-Lu Chaung and hence contained a lot of sediments.

(iv)   It was found out that there were 7 inmates who have been imprisoned for more than (14) years.

(v)    Family visit was allowed to only those family-members included in the family-members’ household list. As some inmates have no family members remaining, it was very difficult for the other relatives to get family visit.

(vi)   It was also learnt that some female inmates had no sanitary napkins and therefore they used strips of cloth which was not at all appropriate.

(b)     Lock-up of Loi-Kaw Court

(i)      The entrance to the male lock-up was only two and half feet high and two feet wide and the entrance to the female lock-up was three feet high by two feet wide. The detainees had to squat down to enter the lock-up.

(ii)    It was found out that only buckets were provided as urinals and therefore there were bad smells and a lot of rubbish was thrown about.

(iii)   It was found out that the capacity of the lock-up was not compatible to the number of detainees resulting in overcrowding.

(c)     The Loi-Kaw Myoma Police’s Lock-up

(i)      The entrance to the lock-up was three feet and two inches high and two feet eleven inches wide. Therefore the detainees had to squat down to enter the lock-up.

(ii)    It was found out that the bucket storing the water was very dirty. The corner of the walls of the lock-up had beetle stains on it and the smell was very bad. A lot of rubbish was also thrown about.

(d)     Guard-ward of Loikaw civil hospital

(i)      It was learnt that the male and female patients were kept together without segregation.

(ii)    It was also learnt that the latrines and bathrooms were also not segregated and there was no cleanliness.

Recommendations

  1. The recommendations were as follows:
  • Loikaw Prison
  • Because of the overcrowding of the inmates additional sleeping quarters should be constructed.
  • An assistant medical officer should be appointed.
  • The water pumped up direct from Ba-lu Chaung for use in the prison contains a lot of sediments and therefore a filtering tank should be constructed.
  • The jail sentences for the 7 inmates who had been imprisoned for more than (14) years should be considered according to the Prison Manual.
  • Stringent measures regarding prison visits should be relaxed.

(vi)   Adequate sanitary napkins should be provided for all female inmates.

  • The Lock-up of the Loi-Kaw Court

(i)      The entrance to the lock-up should be raised up to the height of a normal person.

(ii)    Clean and secure latrines should be installed in the lock-up.

(iii)   The lock-up should be extended to accompany the detainees.

  • Loi-Kaw Myoma Police Lock-up

(i)      The entrance to the lock-up should be raised up to the height of a normal person.

(ii)    Good ventilation, cleanliness and proper lighting should be carried out.

  • The Guard Ward of the Loi-Kaw Civil Hospital
  • The male and female patients should be kept in separate rooms.
  • The latrines and bathrooms of male and female patients should also be separated.

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Date:        17 March 2016