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Win Mra, Chairman of the MNHRC says the Release of Political Prisoners is Not a Priority

By Burma Partnership  •  May 11, 2012

According to an article published in the Irrawaddy, Win Mra, Chairman of the MNHRC said he has made some attempt to get remaining prisoners on the agenda, but acknowledged it’s not a government priority.

“If there are prisoners of conscience remaining, yes, they should be released,” Win Mra said. “But it’s a moot point right now because there are so many other things happening.”

According to a count by Human Rights Watch, President Thein Sein’s administration freed at least 659 political prisoners over the past year. However, since then the issue has largely been dropped while the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has detailed 471 cases, and is trying to verify hundreds more.

The MNHRC has only visited 2 prisons since it was established and had to require presidential authorization for prison visits and interviews with prisoners were conducted in the presence of prison officials.

Therefore, we recommend that the MNHRC be given the authority to make regular visits to all places of detention without prior authorization and in absence of prison authorities. If the MNHRC cannot give the proof of its independence and effectiveness, an international independent body should investigate the number of remaining political prisoners and monitor the detention conditions.

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This post is in: NHRC Monitor

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