Tue 5 Aug 2014
Filed under: Human Rights,Inside Burma,News
Local political prisoner organisations and international experts from Amnesty International and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees will come together on August 17-18 with the aim of redefining the term ‘political prisoner’.
U Bo Kyi, joint secretary of Assistance Association for Political Prisoners told Mizzima on August 3 that a location for the meeting had yet to be identified but that the intent of the meeting would be to prepare a proposal to submit to Myanmar’s parliament and government.
“The current definition must be clearer, we will also look to make it more concise,” said U Bo Kyi.
Former political prisoner Daw Moe Kalyar said that while she supported the move to redefine the understanding of ‘political prisoner’ in Myanmar, she believed it unlikely that the government would approve the proposal.
“If a wider definition of political prisoner is accepted, then the government will have to assist in the rehabilitation of those brought within the new definition and I am unsure whether they would be prepared to do that,” said Daw Moe Kalyar.
U Bo Kyi said that discussions on the term ‘political prisoner’ will be held in the context of Myanmar’s laws on sedition, illegal assembly, acts of terrorism, unlawful association and peaceful assembly and procession.
Despite President U Thein Sein’s pledge to release all political prisoners by the end of 2013, members of the Committee for Scrutinizing Political Prisoners said that 30 prisoners remained in jail.
AAPP records says that a further 60 political prisoners have been imprisoned since then and another 80 face charges.