UN rights expert welcomes Myanmar’s freeing of political prisoners

23 September 2008

The independent United Nations expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar has welcomed the reported release of seven political prisoners today, calling it a positive sign of cooperation from the Government of the South-East Asian nation.

Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana said he hoped the freeing of the seven “would be the first in a series of releases of other prisoners of conscience, some 2,000 of whom are currently estimated to be still detained in Myanmar,” according to a news release issued in Geneva.

Among those released today is U Win Tin, who Mr. Quintana met with at Insein Prison during his four-day visit to the country last August.

The other freed prisoners are Dr. May Win Myint, U Aung Soe Myint, U Khin Maung Swe, Win Htain, Dr. Than Nyein and U Thein Naing.

Mr. Quintana, who took up his post in May 2007, has proposed to the Government four core human rights elements to help pave the road to democracy. One of these concerned the progressive release of all prisoners of conscience starting with the elderly, those with health limitations and long-serving prisoners.

Special Rapporteurs serve in an independent and unpaid capacity and report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council.

 

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