An amnesty of thousands of prisoners in Myanmar is essentially an empty political gesture as scores of peaceful activists are believed to remain behind bars, Amnesty International said.
The Myanmar authorities today announced that some 3,000 prisoners would be released in an amnesty, but none of the country’s prisoners of conscience – activists detained solely for peacefully expressing their views – appears to be included in the release.
“This is nothing but an empty gesture on the authorities’ part. The timing, so close to the ASEAN summit in Myanmar in early November, smacks of political opportunism,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.
“If the Myanmar authorities were genuine about improving respect for human rights, they would follow through on the long-standing promise to clear the country’s jails of the dozens of peaceful activists still behind bars.”