Burma Democratic Concern has the firm determination to carry on doing until the democracy restore in Burma.

Friday, 14 October 2011

UN envoy urges Burma to free all political prisoners

UNITED NATIONS : United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma, Tomás Ojea Quintana, on Thursday urged the government to free all remaining political prisoners.

Quintana welcomed the decision by Burma's leader to grant amnesty and release a significant number of detainees. He said the recent release is an "important further step" by the country's authorities to respond to international concern and advance political reconciliation.

The exact number of released political prisoners has yet to be confirmed, but it is believed to be more than 200, including a number of prominent figures. Human rights groups estimate that there are some 2,000 political prisoners still behind bars.

"These are individuals who have been imprisoned for exercising their fundamental human rights or whose fair trial or due process rights have been denied," Quintana said. "Their release would be an important step for the democratic transition, and would be welcomed by people both inside and outside the country. It is imperative that the Government completes the liberation of all such prisoners."

Quintana also urged Burma's government to improve the conditions of detention and the treatment of prisoners in compliance with international standards.

The release this week came a day after state-run television announced an amnesty granted by President Thein Sein for 6,359 prisoners, although it did not say how many are political prisoners.

The move comes at a time when Burma, ruled by military regimes since 1962, is trying to move cautiously toward democracy. Western governments have been pressuring the government to release political prisoners and embark on democratic reforms, but progress has been slow.

Some 20,000 prisoners were released on May 16 after President Thein Sein announced a one-year presidential commutation, but only a few were political prisoners.

According to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma, there are at least 1,998 political prisoners in 42 prisons and 109 labor camps across Burma, which is formally known as Myanmar. Late last year, authorities released pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi after years under house arrest.
--BNO News

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