World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Release Of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Is Warmly Welcomed

7 May 2002

Amnesty International warmly welcomes the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the main political party in Myanmar, the National League for Democracy (NLD). She had been held under de facto house arrest by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC, the military government) since September 2000.

"Her release is a very positive development in the human rights situation in Myanmar, and we hope that it will soon be followed by the release of the hundreds of other prisoners held for their peaceful political views,"Amnesty International said today.

"The international community must continue to encourage the Myanmar government to make further improvements in the human rights and humanitarian situation there. At the same time the Burmese people need to have the opportunity to decide their own future. Freedom of expression is severely curtailed, and most Burmese are suffering from the effects of a poor economy."

To date the organization has recorded some 280 releases of political prisoners since December 2000. During the last 18 months few political arrests have been reported. Nevertheless there are about 1500 political prisoners who remain behind bars in Myanmar, a number of whom have not been released at the end of their sentences.

As recently as November 2001 Dr. Salai Tun Than, an ethnic Chin professor in his early 70s, was arrested in Yangon, the capital, for peacefully calling for democratic change. In March 2002 he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment under the vaguely-worded provisions of the Emergency Provisions Law. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience and calls for his immediate and unconditional release.

Another prisoner of conscience is Paw U Tun, alias Min Ko Naing, who was arrested in March 1989 and has been imprisoned ever since. As a student leader during the mass pro-democracy movement in 1988, he led thousands of students, hundreds of whom are also still imprisoned, in protest at 26 years of military rule. He is currently imprisoned in Sittwe Prison, Rakhine State, amid ongoing concerns about his health.

Background Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the SPDC have been engaged in talks since October 2000. These discussions are confidential, but are thought to remain at the confidence-building stage. It is widely believed that until her release and the release of hundreds of other political prisoners, the talks would not progress beyond that stage.

During this period the SPDC has permitted several international delegations to visit, including Ambassador Razali Ismael, the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy on Myanmar; Professor Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar; and the International Labour Organization (ILO) High Level Team. Amnesty International welcomes all these developments, which it hopes will lead to further improvements in the human rights situation in Myanmar.

However the military continue to use civilians for forced labour, in spite of two decrees issued by the SPDC outlawing the practice. Ammesty International has recent evidence that the military is still seizing ethnic minority civilians for unpaid forced labour in counter-insurgency areas of the Shan, Mon, and Karen States, and the Tenasserim Division. The ILO and the SPDC have recently agreed on an ILO liaison presence in Myanmar by June 2002, which should assist in beginning to eradicate forced labour.


You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news