Burma’s military-backed government should form a joint domestic and international board with the involvement of the UN to investigate how many political prisoners remain in Burma’s jails and secure their release, Burma Campaign UK (BCUK) said on Monday.
The unconditional release of all political prisoners is an essential step towards genuine democracy and freedom in Burma, it said in a statement. A joint domestic and international board must be formed with the involvement of the UN to investigate how many political prisoners remain in Burma’s jail, it said in a statement.
To draw attention to the remaining political prisoners, BCUK is highlighting the case of a different political prisoner each month. The political prisoner for this month is Zaw Zaw Aung, who was sent to life imprisonment in 2008.
Zaw Zaw Aung is a 33-year-old activist who was involved in raising awareness and educating the people of Burma about human rights and freedom. He was arrested in August 2008 and charged with four different counts, including under the 17/1 of the Unlawful Association Act and sentenced to life imprisonment.
“It is very disappointing to see that political activists in Burma still remain in jails regardless of all the changes,” said Wai Hnin, BCUK campaigns officer “To bring a proper democratic system to Burma, President Thein Sein must allow a joint domestic and international board to be formed with the help of the UN to investigate how many activists in Burma remain in jail and secure their release as soon as possible.
Burma Campaign UK is asking supporters to write a letter to Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne asking him to pressure the military backed government to allow the formation of a joint domestic and international board with the involvement of the UN to investigate the numbers of political prisoners remaining in Burma’s jails and secure their releases.
Various human rights or domestic Burmese groups groups estimate that between 200 and 600 political prisoners remain imprisoned. The government is not transparent in regard to the number of political prisoners it holds. It refuses to acknowledge the term, saying all prisoners have been convicted of breaking existing laws.
On July 28, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP) said there were 444 confirmed political prisoners in Burmese jails.
The figure will continue to fluctuate and is expected to increase as the verification process continues, said the AAPP.
The lifting of some sanctions against Burma “should not blur the fact that hundreds of political prisoners are still imprisoned and that the treatment they are given fails to comply with international standards,” said the AAPP.