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Filipino solidarity activists lambast Burmese junta’s “bogus” prisoner amnesty

By Free Burma Coalition - Philippines  •  June 17, 2011

About a hundred of Filipino solidarity activists under the Free Burma Coalition-Philippines (FBC-Phils) today held a solidarity action in front of the Myanmar (Burma) Embassy in Makati City, Philippines in line with the international celebration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s 66th birthday on June 19.

According to FBC-Phils, while they are happy when Aung San Suu Kyi was released under house arrest last year, the international community including the United Nations and the ASEAN should do more concrete actions to see substantial democratic changes in military-ruled Burma.

FBC-Phils. claimed that according to international human rights organizations, there are still more than 2,000 political prisoners languishing in various detention centers in Burma who are experiencing torture and other forms of human rights abuses from prison authorities.

Meanwhile, The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) denounces the recent prisoner amnesty, announced 16 May by the new Thein Sein administration, as a ploy to appease the international community.

Members of the FBC-Phils dramatized the plight of political prisoners in Burma with the parade of “political prisoners who are locked up in chains” as a symbol of their opposition against what they call a “bogus prisoner amnesty program” by Burma’s military government.

Reports said that under this so-called ‘amnesty’, outlined in order No. 28/2011 by the junta, prisoners on death row will have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment and other convicts will receive a one-year deduction off their current prison terms. The current amnesty, according to the group will have no impact on the vast majority of political prisoners, most of whom are serving long prison terms. Of the 309 prisoners released from one of Burma detention center, only one is a political prisoner who was nearing the end of his sentence.

Egoy Bans, spokesperson of FBC-Phils said, “the junta is thinking that the international community is too gullible to believe this prison amnesty program. This is meaningless and was designed only to fool the international community. It will not produce concrete changes in the lives of the prisoners and their families.”


The FBC-Phils likewise took the occasion to assail the “100 Days of Burma’s New Parliament” last 11th of May since the convening of Burma’s Parliament on 31 January. The laws governing the proceedings of the first parliamentary session in 22 years gagged Members of the parliament (MPs) and restrict civilian access to the Parliament. Reports said that many MPs complained about being subjected to detention-like living conditions. The regime also barred domestic journalists and foreign correspondents from covering the session.

Bans added, “Burma has a new parliament that was a byproduct of a severely undemocratic 2010 Burma elections. And even if this new parliament serve for 1 million days, democracy will not be achieved because the ruling junta remains in full-control of state operations and governance.”

He explained, “nothing has actually changed in Burma. Human rights violations are still rampant and no amount of bogus military elections can bring democracy and social justice to Burma.The peoples of Burma dream about the return of democracy in their home-land. Some thought that Burma’s 2010 elections will produce a jar full of sweet candies. But after the junta elections, the people got a bitter lollipop.”

FBC-Phils lastly urged the UN and the ASEAN to apply pressure the junta to democratize and reiterated their demand to investigate Burma’s crimes against humanity that include rape of women, arbitrary killings and detention, forced labour and forced displacement among others.

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This post is in: Press Release

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