Arakan Human Rights and Development Organisation (AHRDO) welcomes the release on 12 October 2011 of 6,359 prisoners. As of October 13 according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP-Burma) approximately 220 political prisoners including 7 Arakanese monks and activists, viz. U Einthariya, U Kawvida, Ko San Lwin, Ko Naing Soe, Ko Min Aung, Ko Kyaw Win Chay and U Myat Tun, were released.
The released prisoners include the famed comedian Zarganar, imprisoned since 2008, and Su Su Nway, a prominent labour activist arrested and detained in 2007.
AHRDO urges the Burmese Government to go much further on the path to real national reconciliation and release the rest of the estimated 2,000 political prisoners including youth activists and prominent ethnic leaders such as Khun Htun Oo.
AHRDO’s Executive Director, Aung Marm Oo, added:
“Again we urge that the new Burmese Government release Arakanese youth activists arrested in September 2009 on accusation of various criminal cases including terrorist attacks - 1) Kyaw Win /Warm, 2) Naing Soe @ Mae Lone, 3) Aung San Thein @ Na Pauk, 4) Aung Naing, 5) Khine Kyaw Moe, 6) Ray Htet Soe, 7) Tun Lin Kyaw, 8) Zaw Tun Naing, 9) Aung Moe Zaw, 10) Kyaw Zan Thein - and a prominent Arakanese monk, historian and researcher, U Pyinnya Sara, arrested from his monastery, Buddha Wihara, in July 2010.”
AHRDO has also welcomed President Thein Sein’s recent offer of peace talks with Burma’s ethnic groups and his suspension of the construction of the Myitsone dam, one of a series of 7 mega dams on the Irrawaddy River, in the face of public opinion. However, we urge that the implementation of many development projects in Arakan State, such as the Shwe Gas Pipelines Project and the Kaladan Project, should also be reconsidered due to a lack of participation in the decision-making and consensus by the Arakanese and Burmese people at large.