Myanmar: UN rights expert welcomes release of women prisoners

13 March 2002

The United Nations human rights expert for Myanmar today welcomed the release over the past three weeks of nearly 200 women prisoners detained for criminal charges, virtually all of whom have young children or are pregnant.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Myanmar, has said in a report to the upcoming session of the Commission that female prisoners with children and those who are pregnant constituted one of the most vulnerable groups of the prison population.

Today, in a statement issued from Geneva regarding the release of the 195 women - 136 with young children and 59 expectant mothers - Mr. Pinheiro said he was "encouraged that the Government of Myanmar is beginning to address this concern."

The Special Rapporteur added that he hoped this positive step, taken shortly after his visit to Myanmar from 10 to 19 February, would be followed by the release of all political prisoners in the near future.


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