Burma Campaign UK today delivered 1,000 letters calling on the Foreign Secretary William Hague to pressure the military-backed government in Burma to set up a permanent and independent review committee for political prisoners and secure their immediate unconditional release.
Although there have been releases of many high profile political prisoners, hundreds of activists are still being arrested under repressive laws. In Kachin State and in Rakhine state, hundreds more remain in jail or are awaiting trials.
To help solve the problem of political prisoners in Burma, the following issues need to be addressed.
1. All political prisoners should be released immediately and unconditionally.
2. All repressive laws should be repealed or revised. Until then, there should be a suspension of the application of repressive laws.
3. A permanent and genuinely independent review mechanism with the involvement of international experts should be in place to investigate cases where people were jailed unjustly, and secure their immediate, unconditional release.
4. Compensation and rehabilitation programs should be provided for former political prisoners after their release.
5. Criminal records, which all former political prisoners have, should be removed and they should be allowed to continue their studies and their previous careers without restrictions.
“It is now very clear that the review committee is not going to solve the problem of political prisoners in the country. Many activists and ethnic civilians are still being arrested,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “A credible and permanent review process is needed to make sure that people in Burma are not wrongfully jailed for their ethnicity, religion or political beliefs.”
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Wai Hnin and Zoya Phan from Burma Campaign UK delivering 1,000 letters from supporters to the Foreign Office today.