Wednesday 21st April is Blue Shirt Day for political prisoners. It’s the anniversary of the death of U Win Tin, a leader of the democracy movement who famously kept wearing his prison blue shirt after being released from prison, saying he would only stop wearing it when all political prisoners are free.
Every year human rights activists in Burma hold this event, with Burma Campaign UK and other organisations around the world supporting it.
People will wear blue and post pictures on social media to raise awareness and call for the release of all political prisoners.
The event takes on even more significance since the coup, with more than 3,000 political prisoners now in jail.
Wednesday 21 April is the seventh anniversary of the death of U Win Tin, a former political prisoner and one of Burma’s most respected campaigners for democracy. U Win Tin famously pledged to wear a blue shirt, the same colour shirt he had to wear in prison, until all political prisoners in Burma were released.
Arrest, torture and forced disappearances are taking place daily in Burma since the military staged a coup on 1 February. There are now more than 3200 political prisoners, who are being imprisoned for peacefully protesting and speaking out against the military. This figure does not include people who have been arrested or simply disappeared in very remote ethnic areas.
U Win Tin, a journalist and founding member of the National League for Democracy, was one of Burma’s longest serving political prisoners, describing his time in jail from 1989 until 2008 as living in hell. “If there are no political prisoners…. I will take off my shirt but up until now I haven’t seen good indications.” U Win Tin died on 21st April 2014 without seeing an end to the jailing of political prisoners.
“Every day people in Burma are forcibly arrested by the military and many families still don’t know where their loved ones are being detained and how they are,” said Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Senior Advocacy Officer of Burma Campaign UK. “It is a very worrying situation as there are many cases of detainees being tortured and killed in custody. Calling for the unconditional release of all political prisoners without further harm is more important than ever now.”
On 21st April, people around the world will be wearing a blue shirt or blue clothing to raise awareness about Burma’s growing political prisoner population, and in solidarity with those activists in jail for supporting human rights and democracy. Burma Campaign UK has contacted all of our supporters asking them to join the campaign and wear blue.
Please join Blue Shirt Day on Wednesday 21st April. Wear blue, post pictures on social media, and tell the world that there is a growing number of political prisoners in Burma, and that they must be freed immediately.
Post a picture of yourself on Facebook, Twitter etc using the hashtag #blueshirt4burma. Or on Instagram: @blueshirt4burma.