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President U Thein Sein: Put Words into Action

By Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma  •  June 7, 2013

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) welcomes President U Thein Sein’s clear call in a recent address for the “release of prisoners with a view of fostering national reconciliation” – one of the major obstacles to Burma’s nascent democratic transition.

So far, however, his words have not translated into real and concrete action towards emptying Burma’s prisons of all political prisoners and ensuring no one is arrested for their political beliefs or activities.

AAPP (B) kindly acknowledges the President for his words, because his words are powerful and necessary for change. But words are not enough – the hundreds of political prisoners still behind bars and the thousands who have been conditionally released need action.

President U Thein Sein must use the power of the presidential office to completely wipe conditions attached to the release of former political prisoners and widen the mandate of the Committee to Scrutinize Remaining Political Prisoners so that the hundreds of people currently facing formal charges for their peaceful demonstrations and political activity can have the charges against them dropped once and for all.

For President Thein Sein’s wish of no more political prisoners to become a reality, AAPP (B) recommends the President to take the following actions as soon as possible:

  • Broaden the mandate of the Committee to Scrutinize Remaining Political Prisoners so as to include detainees and individuals currently under trial. In this way, the Government of Burma will preempt the emergence of a new batch of political prisoners in Burma. This effort must be coupled with ensuring all official members of the Committee are of equal standing and are meaningfully included in the decision making process in a transparent manner.
  • Retroactively revoke conditions imposed by Article 401 (1) for all former political prisoners released under this provision through the signing of a presidential order.

For real change to occur, President Thein Sein must lead and take action, first and foremost by removing conditions faced by former political prisoners under Article 401(1)i through legal means such as the signing of a presidential order.

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)
For more information: Tate Naing (Secretary): +66 (0) 81 287 8751, Bo Kyi (Joint Secretary): +66 (0) 81 962 8713


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