Wed 7 Jul 2010
Filed under: Inside Burma
New Delhi – The National League for Democracy party headquarters has transferred about 2.55 million Kyats to its state and division branches yesterday for distribution to families of 605 political prisoners.The funds donated by ordinary citizens were being distributed under the party’s social aid programme for poor family members of some political prisoners, among the more than 2,100 serving sentences across the country, party vice-chairman and leader of the programme, Tin Oo, said.
“There are more than 200 such families across the Burmese states and divisions and the rest are families in Rangoon Division,” he said. “The money will be distributed to appropriate prisoners [via their families] from their townships of origin.”
Recipients would also comprise human rights activists, those who took part in protests over fuel-price increases in 2007, political activists, students and young people, without them necessarily being affiliated with the NLD, Tin Oo said.
NLD central executive committee member Win Tin added that, “Previously headquarters managed this work but it has now been delegated to party branches in the states and divisions … We give this money not only to our party members but to other prisoners as well.”
“In the new programme, the fund-raising and distribution of money will be carried out by each branch office,” he said.
Since 1996, the party has assisted family members of political prisoners at the rate of 5,000 Kyats per month per prisoner, to enable them to visit their loved ones in jail. The party had spent more than 3 million Kyats each month, it said.
The scheme was suspended temporarily on May 6, the deadline for the party to re-register or be annulled under the junta’s electoral laws, but it has now resumed. Apart from the financial assistance for prison visits between political prisoners and their families, the NLD has since 1996 also given annual donations to students from these families towards education.