Myanmar Regime Threatens Severe Action Against AAPP

By The Irrawaddy 27 April 2021

Myanmar’s military junta announced Monday that it will take severe action against the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), accusing the group of inflating the number of those killed by the junta’s forces.

AAPP has been documenting the fatalities and arrests at the hands of the military regime’s forces since the Feb. 1 coup.

The United Nations, news media, and other international governments have been relying upon the numbers compiled by the association.

Its numbers are also close to lists documented by local media.

When asked about their response to the junta’s threat of reprisals, U Bo Kyi, a founder and joint secretary of AAPP, said, “I think it’s just a political move as international governments, media and UN are referencing our data.”

“Besides, the issues of releasing political prisoners and halting the junta forces’ violence are the key issues discussed in the recent ASEAN (Association of South East Asia Nations) summit. The key issue is the violence they have committed, their killing and arrests. Instead of solving those problems, they are targeting a group like ours which is revealing the true events. It should not happen. Such actions won’t come any close to [seeking] truth. It is the opposite,” he said.

The military regime has claimed that the AAPP is an unlawful association and has been publishing the fatality lists through its webpage without referencing reliable sources. The fatality lists published by the association are inflated over the actual death toll, the junta said.

Citing the records of its police forces, the military regime recently said via military run-television and newspapers that only 258 people were killed between Feb. 1 and April 15, while the AAPP has confirmed a total of 726 deaths in the same period.

The military regime asserted Monday that by publishing its count of the death toll the AAPP was not only frightening civil servants and the public but also stimulating more riot cases and instigating instability in the country.

After the first accusations by the junta on April 19 that the death toll had been inflated, the AAPP said it can totally guarantee the numbers it has documented.

The AAPP is documenting all deaths caused by the regime’s forces during their raids, crackdowns, interrogations and shootings, verifying each case thoroughly, U San Min, who is in charge of the documentation and research department of the association, recently told The Irrawaddy.

AAPP, which has been documenting the human rights situation for two decades, was founded in 2000 in Thailand’s Mae Sot, a border town with Myanmar. It has been advocating for the release of all remaining political prisoners in Myanmar and for the improvement of their quality of life during and after incarceration. The group began working inside the country after the installation of the civilian governments in 2011.

As of Monday, more than 750 people have been killed by the junta’s forces during their crackdowns, raids, arrests, interrogations and random shootings, said the AAPP.

Those killed include anti-regime protesters, National League for Democracy party members, bystanders, pedestrians and residents.

Also, more than 3,440 people including elected leaders, NLD party members, election commissioners, protesters, activists, doctors, journalists, writers, artists, teachers and civilians have been detained.

Faced with the continuing brutal killing and arrests, people across the country have taken to the streets to protest the military regime in a variety of ways.

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