AJAR organized a joint event to mark International Day in Support of Victims of Torture on 26 June 2015 in Yangon, Myanmar. Our partners Wimutti Volunteer Group (WVG) and torture survivor Ma Thandar (wife of Ko Par Gyi, a journalist who died in military custody in October 2014) spoke out about the plight of torture survivors and their demand for recognition and justice.
The event also featured an exhibition of drawings showing the experiences of women political prisoners. The drawings included illustrations made by a professional illustrator based on the women’s stories, as well as drawings of body maps made by the women survivors themselves. The body maps show the sites of pain and love on their bodies, and was used in a participatory research conducted with the survivors.
Khin Mi Mi Khine, coordinator of WVG and main organizer of the event, gave a remarkable speech. She said:
“In our reconciliation and peace process, we have to go through a transitional justice phase. Speaking of the past is not for revenge but for reconciliation… Almost all citizens of Myanmar are traumatized in various ways. Even though we can forgive what happened in the past, it is difficult to forget. Therefore, we need reparations and rehabilitation (for victims).”
She added, “Not only victims are traumatized but also perpetrators. We need reparations for everyone. [From here] we achieve reconciliation and positive peace. We need reconciliation between Burman ethnic and other ethnic groups in Myanmar.”