The Press Statement regarding the visit to Insein Central Prison by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Statement No. (3/ 2015)

Unofficial translation

  1. A team from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, comprising of Commission Members U Zaw Win, U Yu Lwin Aung, Dr Nyan Zaw and Dr Daw Than Nwe, accompanied by the staff of the Commission visited the Insein Central Prison in Yangon Region on the 17 and 18 of February 2015. The visit was made under Sections 43, 44 and 45 of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law. The team divided into four groups and inspected the prison as follows:

(a)       Group(1)      Sleeping quarters No(1)and No(5), Youth annex, Mediation Centre, Auxiliary Middle school and the Insein Prison or Annex

            (b)       Group(2)      Sleeping quarters No(2) and No(4) and Kitchen

            (c)       Group(3)      Sleeping quarters No(3), No(5),Hospital ward and Cells

            (d)       Group(4)      Sleeping quarters of female inmates

  1. The groups inspected the records and the sleeping quarters and interviewed individually (60) inmates both male and female, in private.
  1. Findings

(a)       The prison has a capacity of (5,000) inmates but there are (3531) male inmates including (119) foreigners, (994) female inmates, also (2914) under-trial male detainees and (437) female detainees. Therefore it was found out that the inmates and under-trial detainees total (7876) persons.

(b)       There are (6) male inmates and (1) female inmate jailed under the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act, (9) male inmates jailed under the Explosive Substances Act, (11) male inmates jailed under the Penal Code Section 505(B) totaling (27) inmates.

(c)       There are a large number of inmates jailed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law.

(d)       Some of the inmates reported that the jail sentences handed down to them are not compatible with the crimes they committed.

(e)       There are also (16) male inmates, (3) female inmates and (5) foreigners totaling (24) in all, who have been in prison for more than 14 years consecutively. It was found out that among them there are (8) inmates of age 60 years and above.

(f)        In some of the cells, it was found out that mosquitoes are rampant, the smells and odours very bad and mosquitoes dwell in large numbers in the water closets.

(g)       Some inmates from the youth annex are suffering from scabies and skin diseases. It was also found out the wax sheeting are torn.

(h)       It was learnt that the international (10) days mediation center with a capacity of (100) yogis is having less and less yogis turn out for each session.

(i)        Although the prison hospital is a (40) bedded hospital, it was learnt that there are about (400) inpatient inmates and there is no dental surgeon.

(j)        There are (44) female inmate admitted at the prison hospital for women and there is only (1) nurse and (1) midwife. There is also no lady doctor in attendance.

  1. Recommendations

(a)       For those prisoners who have served prison term for (14) years and above consecutively, their cases should be reviewed for clemency and amnesty in accordance with the prison manual.

(b)       For under-trial detainees, those who can be given bail should be allowed to face trial on bail. Also for under-trial detainees whose cases have been pending in court for long time assistance should be provided in order that the cases be tried expeditiously and fairly.

(c)       For prisoners sentenced under the Emergency Act, the Explosive Substances Act and Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act, their cases should be brought to the attention of the Political Prisoners Scrutiny Committee for discussion.

(d)       To reduce the crimes committed by the drug addicts under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law, steps should be taken to effectively combat drugs.

(e)       To extradite expatriate inmates who have served prison terms for an extended period by contacting respective governments and embassies.

(f)        To construct extension buildings to the sleeping quarters to alleviate the overcrowding of both male and female inmates.

(g)       To consistently carry out vocational trainings for the inmates by engaging experienced and skilled trainers.

(h)       To continue providing education to youth inmates who have left school and also to try to encourage, motivate and organize the youth inmates.

(i)        To allow yogis to participate with full capacity attendance in the international (10) days mediation center.

(j)        To eradicate mosquitoes, flies and rodents, insecticide should be sprayed and sanitation equipments should be adequately provided.

(k)       For inmates in cells and other under-trial detainees, provisions should be made for mosquito netting to all.

(l)        The (50) bedded prison hospital should be upgraded and health personnel appointed in line with the organizational structure. A dental surgeon and a lady doctor should be appointed at the earliest possible convenience.

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Date: 3 March 2015