The Myanmar Government has decreed the release of more than 6000 prisoners, including at least 300 political prisoners, in the course of an amnesty. Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement in Berlin today (13 October):
“I was pleased to hear of the release of a sizable number of political prisoners in Burma. I am especially happy that the great Burmese comedian Zarganar has been freed. Directly after his release he called for the freeing of all political prisoners in Myanmar. I would like to emphatically second his call.
It is good that dialogue with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is occurring in Myanmar, it is good that the Myitsone dam project has been halted and it is good that a number of prisoners of conscience have been freed.
These acts can be the first steps on the path towards a freer Myanmar. But a long road lies ahead and I call upon President Thein Sein to continue unwaveringly and take further steps towards democracy. These steps include not only the release of all political prisoners but also an immediate end to military violence in ethnic minority areas; re-legalization of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the NLD; and free and fair by-elections this November. It is high time for Myanmar’s citizens to be freed from the 50-year-long nightmare of military dictatorship.”
Background: Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning visited Myanmar at the beginning of June; during the visit he called upon members of the country’s parliament and ruling party to release political prisoners, particularly Zarganar.