(8 June 2011) Mr. President, Amnesty International estimates that there are more than 2,200 political prisoners in Myanmar held under vague laws frequently used by the government to criminalize peaceful political dissent. Some have been detained since the 1990s and others have more recently been sentenced to more than 60 years’ imprisonment. Many are held in inhumane conditions with inadequate food, sanitation or access to medical treatment. Amnesty International believes that the vast majority are prisoners of conscience held merely for peacefully exercising their rights to free expression, assembly, and association.
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for Democratic Voice of Burma’s call for the release of the 17 DVB journalists who are currently jailed in Burma. One of these journalists, Ngwe Soe Lin, is spending his 30th birthday today continung to serve the 13-year sentence he was given for his investigative coverage of children orphaned by Cyclone Nargis.
23 May 2011 – The announcement on 16 May 2011 by Burmese president Thein Sein that all prisoners will receive a one-year sentence reduction is so woefully inadequate that it should be regarded as nothing but another attempt to present a façade of change while the regime continues to restrict fundamental freedoms and commit serious crimes against civilians, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Altsean-Burma) and the Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC) said today.
Authorities in Rangoon, Burma have banned video recordings of press conferences of the regional government after a foreign-based media group broadcast a video clip of the first such event.
On 13th March 2011 the dictatorship in Burma broke a 22 year long ceasefire agreement with the Shan State Army – North. 3,500 Burmese Army soldiers took part in a military offensive in north-central Shan State, an area with a population of 100,000. Sixty-five clashes were reported in the first three weeks of the dictatorship breaking the ceasefire. Civilians are being targeted in the military offensive, with mortar bombs fired at civilian villages.
Press freedom and online freedom of information are still being flouted in Burma, three months after Thein Sein’s election as a civilian president. He promised to “respect the role of the media” but heavy jail sentences for journalists, suspension of newspapers and police raids on Internet cafés show that there has been no let-up in controls and intimidation. And now a string of new measures have just tightened control over Internet use.
The Myanmar government’s reduction of prison terms must be swiftly followed by the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said today.
Empty Response to UN Envoy’s Call for Release of All 2,100 Political Prisoners (New York, May 16, 2011) – The Burmese government’s decision to grant a one-year sentence reduction to all prisoners is a slap in the face to a senior United Nations’ envoy who had just called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, Human Rights Watch said today.
The Vice-Chair of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission, Mr. Nurkholis, today called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to support a UN investigation into business and human rights violations in Burma. Mr. Nurkholis made his statement as a member of the experts panel at regional civil society’s first Public Hearing on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Human Rights in ASEAN held in Jakarta today.
Following recent heavy fighting in northern Shan State, all the planned Salween dam sites in Burma now lie directly in active conflict zones. The Salween Watch Coalition is therefore demanding an immediate halt to all plans to build dams on the Salween River in Burma. This applies directly to the Governments and Corporations of China and Thailand as well as the new Government of Burma