A United Nations human rights expert today called on the Government of Myanmar to unconditionally release all top opposition leaders after the authorities extended the house arrest of one of them by another year.
“This will be critical in facilitating national reconciliation and democratic transition, to which the Myanmar leadership has committed itself,” Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said in a statement.
He expressed “deep regret” at this week’s one-year extension of the house arrest of Tin Oo, the Vice-Chairman of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party. Tin Oo has been in detention since May 2003 despite calls by the party and the international community for his release.
“Special Rapporteur urgently calls on the Government of Myanmar to unconditionally release Tin Oo, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been held hostage without charge or trial for over ten years, as well as all remaining prisoners of conscience,” the statement added.
Last month, China and Russia vetoed a draft Security Council resolution calling on Myanmar to release all political prisoners, begin widespread dialogue and end its military attacks and human rights abuses against ethnic minorities.
Earlier in January, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also called for the freeing of all political prisoners.