November 11, 2008

The Burma Campaign UK today called on the United Nations to take action following the jailing of 14 democracy activists in Burma. The 14 have been jailed for 65 years. If they are forced to serve their full terms, they will die in jail.

“The United Nations Security Council said last October that the regime must release political prisoners,” said Nang Seng, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK. “Instead the regime has arrested a thousand more people, and is now jailing them for life. The regime is defying the Security Council. The Council must respond.”

Only yesterday EU foreign ministers met and called for the release of all political prisoners. The EU promised to increase pressure on the regime if there was no progress to reform, but despite the situation getting worse they have taken no action. The failure of the EU and other governments to follow through on their promises of action emboldens the regime.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Burma in December, but there are fears he may back out of the visit because of the difficulties in negotiating with the regime.

“These sentences make it all the more important that Ban Ki-moon goes ahead with his visit”, said Nang Seng. “Ban Ki-moon says he won’t go unless there is progress, but unless he goes there will be no progress. We have had 37 visits to Burma by UN envoys, but things have only got worse. We need his personal engagement on Burma. UN envoy visits don’t work.”

The number of political prisoners has doubled since the democracy uprising in September last year. More than 2,100 prisoners are now in jail.

For more information contact Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, on 44(0)7941239640, or Nang Seng, Campaigns Officer, on 44(0)7889832485.

From the 88 Generation Students:
Mie Mie, Nilar Thein and her husband Jimmy, Min Zayya, Zaw Zaw Min, Than Tin (aka) Kyi Than, Zayya (aka) Kalama, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Kyaw Kyaw Htwe (aka) Marky, Pannate Tun, Thet Zaw, Mar Mar Oo, Sandar Min (aka) Shwe, and Thet Thet Aung.

The sentences were handed down at around 1pm, behind closed doors in Insein prison special court. Family members were not allowed to attend the hearing.

In a separate hearing held in Insein prison special court, Labour activist Su Su Nwe was today sentenced to 12 years and 6 months.

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