Burma Campaign UK today urged Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire MP to call in the Burmese ambassador to Britain to question him regarding why people are still being arrested under the so-called right to protest law in Burma. Burma Campaign UK also urged the Foreign Office Minister to demand the military-backed government to reform the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee, and ensure the immediate release of Naw Ohn Hla and the remaining political prisoners in Burma.
Naw Ohn Hla is a former political prisoner and a leading member of the Democracy and Peace Women Network (DPWN), which campaigns for women’s rights, equality and democracy in Burma.
On 30th December 2014, Naw Ohn Hla and her fellow activists were arrested for protesting outside the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon. The protesters were urging the military-backed government in Burma to carry out the investigation into the death of Khin Win. Khin Win was shot dead on 22 December 2014 when police opened fire on her and other protesters who were protesting against land being taken over for the Chinese run Letpadaung copper mine project in Sagaing region.
The Letpadaung project is a venture between China’s Wan Bao Company, the military-owned Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd and the Burmese government. It has resulted in land confiscations, environmental degradation, and the implementation of a policy of arresting and harassing peaceful protestors.
“Naw Ohn Hla has been jailed numerous times simply for her peaceful political activities. There are many activists like her who still face arrest and harassment by Thein Sein’s government,” said Wai Hnin, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “The government uses repressive laws to intimidate and jail political activists like Naw Ohn Hla. The issue of political prisoners will remain a big problem unless all repressive laws are repealed in the country.”