Myanmar Releases Remaining Prisoners of Conscience

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Burma has released of remaining political prisoners this week whom under a presidential amnesty.

Reports say Burmese government announced that 514 prisoners would be released as part of a general amnesty. Around 90 of those pardoned are reportedly prisoners of conscience.

However, speculations raise that hundreds more are still being held despite the government’s promise to release them.

Today, the United Nations independent expert hailed the latest presidential amnesty releasing a number of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.

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Aung San Suu Kyi arrives to give speech to the supporters during 2012 byelection campaign at her constituency Kawhmu township, Myanmar on 22 March 2012.

Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana also called on Mynmar authorities to continue “this systematic liberation” without conditions.

Mr. Ojea Quintana also stresses the move is key for the country’s democratic transition and reconciliation process.

“Bold steps are needed now to overcome the legacy of the past and to ensure that no prisoners of conscience are left behind.” -Mr. Ojea Quintana

Reports say, it was fourth amnesty declared in 2011 by the government of President Thein Sein.

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), among those released was the prominent Buddhist monk named U Khaymar Sara.

Mr. Ojea Quintana said he was encouraged by the Government’s continuing steps to release the remaining prisoners.

Mr. Ojea Quintana also underlined that the release of prisoners of conscience should be at the forefront of Myanmar’s reforms.

He added that the Government must release all remaining prisoners of conscience without delay as part of the process of democratic transition and national reconciliation.

Earlier this year, Myanmar authorities released 651 political prisoners including a number of key and prominent figures

Many political prisoners included Sai Nyunt Lwin, 60, a prominent ethnic minority Shan politician, and Khin Nyunt, a former prime minister and military intelligence chief, a senior prison official said.

Min Ko Naing, the leader of a pro-democracy student uprising in 1988, and Shin Gambira, a well-known Buddhist monk who led 2007 street protests, were also reported to have been freed.

Witnesses said the charismatic student leader was greeted by a huge crowd as he left prison.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has commended the authorities in Myanmar on the long-awaited release of political prisoners.

Mr. Ban also commended Myanmar’s other important efforts being made to advance democracy and national reconciliation.

Mr. Ban also noted the important efforts being made by the Myanmar authorities for renewed peace with the armed ethnic groups, including yesterday’s preliminary ceasefire between the authorities and the Karen National Union as well as the initial peace agreements with other groups.

The latest moves by the authorities of the South-east Asian nation are the continuation of reform efforts begun last year by President Thein Sein following the establishment of a new Government. These include an ongoing dialogue between the Government and pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the release in October of a significant number of detainees.

Ms. Suu Kyi, an opposition leader put under house arrest for almost 15 years, was released on 13 November last year.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.