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  • » 09/30/2005, 00.00


    More than 1,110 political prisoners in Myanmar

    New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – There are more than 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar, "including monks, lawyers, teachers, journalists, farmers, politicians, student leaders, writers and poets", says Paulo Sergio Pinheiro. The United Nations human rights observer told the General Assembly that although the Myanmar government released 249 opponents on 6 July, hundreds of political detainees remain imprisoned. Further, he accused the authorities of torturing prisoners.

    In his report, Pinheiro expressed his preoccupation about the continued house arrest of the democracy activist, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, which makes it impossible for her to work with her colleagues of the National League for Democracy (NLD). He also highlighted the detention of U Win Tin, a 75-year-old editor and poet, who has been held for 16 years in Insein, a very harsh prison.

    Pinheiro said such an attitude "runs counter to the spirit of national reconciliation" which the military junta claims it wants to achieve. For some time now, Yangon has insisted it is following a plan for peaceful transition to democracy. In June last year, the junta called a national meeting to draft a new constitution, but Suu Kyi was not allowed to participate and her party boycotted the meeting in protest. Pinheiro said the government should take immediate steps to ensure the participation of all political parties "to salvage the national convention and its credibility both at home and internationally".

    The report includes charges of severe violations of human rights against ethnic minorities including forced labour, extortion and expropriation, rape and other sexual violence by the armed forces.

    Officials at Myanmar's UN mission did not release any statements.

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    See also

    29/11/2004 MYANMAR
    Suu Kyi's detention extended by a year

    Ban Ki-moon calls on Burmese regime to guarantee credible elections
    The UN secretary general says he is frustrated and disappointed by the results of UN diplomacy. He wants to see all political prisoners take part in the elections, especially Aung San Suu Kyi. Divisions within the United Nations prevent a more decisive action against the military dictatorship.

    New call from UN Secretary-General for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi
    In a meeting with international pro-democracy activists, Ban Ki-moon outlines the issues at the centre of his official visit in July. He urges the junta to "seize the opportunity" to promote "a credible political process" in Myanmar.

    02/02/2009 MYANMAR
    Aung San Suu Kyi meets with UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari
    The pro-democracy leader leaves house arrest for an hour-long talk with the representative of the United Nations. Suu Kyi stresses that the visit of the UN secretary general is "conditioned" on the liberation of political prisoners. From the United Nations, a plan of economic assistance in exchange for concessions on matters of democracy and human rights.

    11/10/2006 MYANMAR
    Constitution deliberations resume as student protests grow

    The National Convention met yesterday but the largest opposition party still refuses to join it. Demonstrations against the junta are gathering momentum across the country. Hundreds of people in Yangon and Mandaly are wearing white in protest against political detention and a petition by a student movement has gathered 120,000 signatures so far.

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