Burmese detainees face abuses in Bangaldeshi jails

Sep 18, 2008 (DVB), Burmese nationals detained in prisons along the Bangladeshi border have faced human right abuses and had no assistance from Burmese diplomatic representatives, two Burmese organisations reported.

The United Ethnic Nationalities and the All-Burmese Monks Representatives yesterday called for assistance to Burmese nationals held in prisons along the border for entering the country illegally, overstaying their visas or committing a crime.

ABMR member U Htarwara said exiled political activists and former child soldiers who had deserted the Burmese government army were among the immigration detainees.

U Htarwara said the Burmese prisoners, from Rangoon, Irrawaddy, Mandalay and Tenasserim divisions and Kachin, Mon and Chin states, were facing a lot of difficulties inside the prison and had received no assistance from the Burmese embassy in Dhaka.

"The prisoners contacted the Burmese embassy and asked for help but they did not give them any assistance," said U Htarwara.

"Normally if you were caught with no documents or an expired visa in Bangladesh, you would go to jail for three months," he said.

"But there are over 800 Burmese nationals who have been kept locked up in the prisons even after their term was up."

Some prisoners who protested against the Bangladeshi authorities for continuing to hold them remained in prison were beaten up guards, U Htarwara said.

Around 2100 Burmese nationals are reportedly being detained in seven Bangladeshi prisons along the border, including in the Cox's Bazaar, Teknaf and Chittagong areas.

About 700 of them are said to be Arakanese, 300 are Rohingyas, about 150 are ethnic Mon and four are ethnic Pa-Laung from Shan state.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew

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