Solitary Confinement as a Human Rights Concern: A Case study of Burma’s Political Prisoners.
Solitary confinement has repeatedly been found to be detrimental to mental health, causing a range of symptoms, including anxiousness, depression, memory loss and paranoia in a significant amount of prisoners. This sparked a wider, ongoing debate on whether solitary confinement can amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The research that informed this debate however solely focused on Western and democratic states, leading a large gap for less democratic states. This dissertation takes a new research angle, by studying the uses and human rights concerns of solitary confinement on former political prisoners from Burma (Myanmar), a semi-democratic state. Six semi-structured interviews with former political prisoners from Burma were carried out. In addition data from a survey with 1621 responses from Burmese former political prisoners was analyzed. The research show that solitary confinement in Burma has been used in combination with torture, sleep and food deprivation, severely lacking health care and hygiene and unfair and secret trials, all of which are serious human rights concerns. Solitary confinement is at the core of all these human rights concerns, posing serious risks for mental and physical health. The political prisoners are left extremely vulnerable in the hands of their torturers. By breaking contact with others, solitary confinement enables the widespread torture and impunity in Burma.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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