UN calls 'incommunicado detention' to end in Myanmar

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Editor : Tevfik Sayraç

Practice of incommunicado detention must be immediately brought to end, UN experts say

UN calls 'incommunicado detention' to end in Myanmar

A group of UN experts on Tuesday voiced concern over the "incommunicado detention" and torture of ethnic Rakhine men by the Myanmar's military.

"The practice of incommunicado detention must be immediately brought to an end. Detainees’ right to a fair trial, including access to a lawyer, must be upheld," the experts said in a statement.

They said there must be a credible independent investigation into the allegations of torture and inhuman treatment, deaths in custody, and reliance on forced confessions in cases involving Arakan Army-related allegations.

The UN experts are Yanghee Lee, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Nils Melzer, special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

"All perpetrators of such violations must be held accountable," read the statement.

They also expressed distress about the use of "incommunicado detention" where individuals are suspected of being associates of the Arakan Army.

The statement cited the case of Naing Aung Htun, who was held in such type of detention for 13 days last month and reportedly given electric shocks by soldiers, after which he confessed to having ties to the Arakan Army, a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group fighting for greater autonomy of the region. 

"It is essential for detained people to be able to communicate with the outside world, especially with family members and their lawyer. We are especially concerned because incommunicado detention may facilitate torture," the experts said.

The UN human rights experts' statement came following media reports about several deaths in military custody of men charged with terrorism offenses.

The military has said it is investigating these deaths and the experts call on it to make the results of that investigation public and to hold any perpetrators accountable.

Four townships in northern Rakhine -- Mrauk-U, Kyauktaw, Minpya, and Ponnagyun -- have witnessed armed clashes on a daily basis since the Arakan Army launched synchronized attacks on police outposts in January, killing 13 officers.

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