Posts Tagged ‘Assistance Association for Political Prisoners’

BURMA: continued prosecution of human rights defenders and peaceful demonstrators

November 23, 2013

There was much optimism about developments in Myanmar/Burma after the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, and the government’s announcement of a process of democratization. But reports from the Asian Human Rights Commission, Front Line Defenders and other NGOs give ground for pessimism. In the words of the AHRC (on 24 September):  “If the government of Myanmar is as serious as it says that it is about political reform, about the release of political prisoners, and about other measures to put its authoritarian legacy behind it, then it needs to begin by bringing to a halt the wanton prosecution of human rights defenders l…It needs to repeal [repressive] laws and above all, it needs to do much more to alter systematically the practices and mentalities of administrators, police officers and other officials accustomed to shutting down any public activity not directly under their control or given their approval. Democratic life is about people acting and talking according to ideas that government officials sometimes will not like. If on every occasion they see or hear something they do not like the authorities in Myanmar respond to it with prosecution, then democratic life in the country will remain a figment.” According to the protesters’ lawyer, Mr Robert San Aung, a total of 57 activists have now been imprisoned under the Peaceful Assembly Law. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners  and 130 activists have been brought to court under this legislation, 18 of whom remain in prison. Read the rest of this entry »

Burma: 56 political prisoners freed, but Section 18 law stays in place and new arrests continue

October 17, 2013

In a move praised by local and international rights groups, Burma’s government, led by ex-general Thein Sein, has released 56 political prisoners. However, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners [AAPP] noted in a statement to the media that 133 political prisoners were still languishing in the country’s prisons. Read the rest of this entry »

Burma frees 450 prisoners before Obama’s visit but what about the real HRDs?

November 15, 2012

Official photographic portrait of US President...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Human rights campaigners say no dissidents are among prisoners to be released in ‘goodwill gesture’ reports Jason Burke in Delhi (guardian.co.uk, Thursday 15 November 2012)

The Guardian and many other newspapers have announced that the Burmese authorities have freed more than 450 detainees in a goodwill gesture before a historic visit by the US president Obama but local and international human rights campaigners said the list of released prisoners did not include any political dissidents.

Announcing the amnesty – the latest in a series that have coincided with high-profile visits of foreign dignitaries or trips by senior Burmese leaders overseas – state media said late on Wednesday that its aim was “to help promote goodwill and the bilateral relationship”. A home ministry official told Reuters that a certain number of the remaining 300 political prisoners would be released. However Bo Kyi, of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said no prisoners of conscience had been freed so far. “All are common criminals or foreign nationals …… We know of no political prisoners among the 452 freed today,” he said.

However the Wall Street Journal (15 Nov)  just reported that U Myint Aye, a 61-year-old human rights activists and one of the most high-profile dissidents currently detained, held at Loikaw, was included.

No word on Aung Naing either (see my post of 24 September this year).

Let’s wait and see whether President Obama is willing to press for a more substantive release.