Torture of U.S. Citizen is First Test for New U.S. Policy Towards Burma

Burma's Insein Prision, where Kyaw Zaw Lwin is held. © 2009 Digital Globe. All Rights Reserved. Image taken from Google Earth.

Burma's Insein Prision, where Kyaw Zaw Lwin is held. © 2009 Digital Globe. All Rights Reserved. Image taken from Google Earth.

Shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a shift in U.S. policy towards the oppressive military regime in Burma (Myanmar), new details emerged about a U.S. citizen who was arrested on September 3: Activist Kyaw Zaw Lwin is being held in the infamous and feared Insein Prison, where Burmese authorities tortured him during recent interrogations. The torture and ill-treatment that Kyaw Zaw Lwin suffered included beating and kicking. He has also been denied medical treatment for the injuries he sustained from the torture.  He was deprived of food for seven days and moved between different interrogation centers. He was not allowed to sleep at night and was kept awake during interrogation by the authorities. Details of the charges against him are not known.

We put out the following statement today on his case in light of the U.S. administration’s shift in policy:

This is the first test for the United States’ new policy of engagement. Amnesty International hopes that this new engagement also covers protecting human rights in Burma. If Secretary Clinton fails to act, there will be many questions about the United States’ latest strategy to end the oppression of the Burmese people.

In its new approach, the U.S. administration is planning more engagement with the regime, while maintaining sanctions:

(…) we will be using a mix of policy tools. Sanctions remain important, as the Secretary said today, an important tool. By themselves, they have not produced the results we would like, but that does not mean they don’t have value. And also dialogue, as well as continuing things that help the people of Burma – humanitarian assistance, those sorts of things. So going forward, we can expect to use a mix of tools. (…) we think that going forward with a more nuanced approach that focuses on trying to achieve results and that’s based on pragmatism, it increases the chances of success over time.

Recent reports suggest that U.S. officials have protested Kyaw Zaw Lwin’s mistreatment and American officials have visited him in Insein prison last weekend. However, more urgent action is needed.

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8 thoughts on “Torture of U.S. Citizen is First Test for New U.S. Policy Towards Burma

  1. I have no sympathy with this person we do not even know it to be true. I have been trying to get in touch with amnesty since March with refrence to the torture committed from a distance by amongst others Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and President Bush but you have not had the decency to reply to my emails. Every part of the human rights act has been broken by these people and you do not seem ion the least bit interested. I have been describing myself as a hostage of technology since spring 2004 and need help. I am in Britain NG33 4NN house number 4 I have no doubt you will ignore this plea for help too

  2. I have been suffering torture in Britain by members of the Royal Family past and present Governments of both the USA and UK but you seem to ignore my pleas for help. I have been emailing you since March of this year but have found no help forthcoming. NASA know about me as do the Pentegon I now think I have contacted some senators and Human Rights First but Amnesty have just ignored my pleas for help. My address is 4 New Row Corby Glen Grantham LIncs NG33 4NN 01476 550608 is there any help out there?

  3. I have no sympathy with this person we do not even know it to be true. I have been trying to get in touch with amnesty since March with refrence to the torture committed from a distance by amongst others Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama and President Bush but you have not had the decency to reply to my emails. Every part of the human rights act has been broken by these people and you do not seem ion the least bit interested. I have been describing myself as a hostage of technology since spring 2004 and need help. I am in Britain NG33 4NN house number 4 I have no doubt you will ignore this plea for help too

  4. I have been suffering torture in Britain by members of the Royal Family past and present Governments of both the USA and UK but you seem to ignore my pleas for help. I have been emailing you since March of this year but have found no help forthcoming. NASA know about me as do the Pentegon I now think I have contacted some senators and Human Rights First but Amnesty have just ignored my pleas for help. My address is 4 New Row Corby Glen Grantham LIncs NG33 4NN 01476 550608 is there any help out there?