Press Statement

Indian Parliamentarians’ Press Conference

“Calling for the release of political prisoners in Burma”

September 6, 2011, Press Club of India, New Delhi

New Delhi: More than 100 Indian Parliamentarians urged the new government of Myanmar to release all political prisoners   in the country.

Mr. D. Raja, member of Indian Parliamentarians’ Forum for Democracy in Burma (IPFDB) said that the release of remaining 2000 political prisoners is important and necessary step for restoration of democracy and political freedom in Burma.

The political activists are held in the country's 43 prisons and many serving sentences of several decades after trials without getting access to legal representation, he added.

Noting that Burma was the only country in South Asia that was being ruled by a military junta in the 21st century, Mr. D. Raja announced at the press conference organized by IPFDB that ‘Parliamentarians cutting across party lines have come together to highlight the cause of the Burmese people for restoration of democracy in Burma.’

A letter, signed by 104 Indian Parliamentarians, urging for the release of all political prisoners in Burma was sent to President Thein Sein through National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese democratic leader and Nobel Peace Laureate as well as recipient of Jawaharlal Nehru International Outstanding Award.

The political prisoners have been languishing in prisons in Burma in the most deplorable and inhuman conditions. Most of them have been sentenced to 65 years and more of rigorous imprisonment, and have little hope of ever leaving prison.

Mr. Syed Azeez Pasha, member of IPFDB, noted that since the elections in November 2010, the human rights situation in Burma has in fact deteriorated. The government has broken ceasefires in Karen, Kachin and Shan State, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Mr. Azeez also urged the government of India to take up the cause of the Burmese people and to impress upon the current Burmese government the urgency of releasing all political prisoners in the country, without which a transition to democracy in Burma was not possible.

India and Burma, he noted, have a long history of friendship and deep cultural ties, which are greatly cherished by both peoples. In the interest of maintaining these ties it is incumbent upon Indians as the citizens of the world’s largest democracy, to help promote democracy, human rights, peace and stability in Burma.

The IPFDB was formed in 2005 by Indian Parliamentarians on the initiative of the late Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande. The IPFDB has for long been supporting democracy movement in Burma and recognizes that the release of political prisoners is the first step in the process of restoring democracy in the country.

 

Sincerely,

Ms. Thin Thin Aung,

Coordinator of IPFDB

 

For More Information Please Contact:

Burma Centre Delhi (BCD)

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Bodella, Vikas Puri, New Delhi - 110018

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www.burmacentredelhi.org