Burma’s Rights Panel Urges Release of Political Prisoners

Posted October 11th, 2011 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Burma's new human rights commission is calling for President Thein Sein to release hundreds of political prisoners, lending weight to reports that a major prisoner release is imminent.

In an open letter released Tuesday, National Human Rights Commission chairman Win Mra said the United Nations and a number of countries have called for the release of “prisoners of conscience.”

The chairman, whose panel was established by the new government last month, says the release of prisoners who do not pose a threat to “the stability of state and public tranquility” will allow them to take part in “nation-building tasks.”

The release of the letter comes amid signs that the government is about to release a large number of prisoners, meeting a key demand of the international community.

Norweigian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Espen Barth Eide told VOA's Burmese service Monday that he has been told by Parliament Speaker Thura Shwe Mann that some prisoners would be released this week.

Western governments are demanding the release of more than 2,000 pro-democracy activists jailed by the former military junta, in return for lifting economic sanctions in place for much of the past decade.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told VOA's Burmese service Monday that Washington is prepared to respond positively to Burmese steps toward democracy.