Press briefing notes on Myanmar / Presidential Pardon

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Cécile Pouilly
Location: Geneva
Date: 31 December 2013

We welcome the pardon granted yesterday by President Thein Sein to political prisoners convicted of or prosecuted for various offences under seven specific laws, including unlawful association, peaceful assembly, treason and sedition. This is an important step in the reform process of the last year and shows the significant progress that has been made in solving the problem of political prisoners in Myanmar, in line with the President's pledge.

We look forward to working with the Government and other stakeholders to reform these laws to ensure that there will be no cases of people being held as political prisoners.

We do, however, regret that the presidential pardon did not include three workers of international non-governmental organisations, detained in Buthidaung Prison since June and July 2012 and human rights defenders in Rakhine State, Dr. Tun Aung and U Kyaw Hla Aung, detained since June 2012 and July 2013 respectively. We ask the authorities to release those prisoners and to ensure that the prisoner review committee continue its work to resolve all pending cases.
ENDS

For further information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva: Cécile Pouilly (+41 79 618 34 30/cpouilly@ohchr.org) or Liz Throssell (+41 79 752 04 88/ethrossell@ohchr.org )
In Bangkok: Matilda Bogner (+662 288 1496/mbogner@ohchr.org )

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