Thursday, 27 February 2020

Myanmar to Free All Political Prisoners by Year End

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  • Myanmar President Thein Sein. AP/Vincent Thian

    Myanmar President Thein Sein. AP/Vincent Thian

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Myanmar government has continued to show its good graces as the reformation process rolls on. During his visit to London, Myanmar President Thein Sein promised on Monday to release all political prisoners by the end of this year and said he thought a nationwide truce was possible for the first time in six decades. 

    "I guarantee to you that by the end of this year there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar," Thein Sein told an audience at the Chatham House think-tank in London. 

    "We are aiming for nothing less than a transition from half a century of military rule and authoritarianism to democracy," he added. 

    Thein Sein’s presence in London was met with protests from human rights activists in the U.K. 

    In his speech, Thein Sein also discussed the sectarian violence between the majority Buddhists and minorityMuslims in his country, which resulted in a bloody massacre last March. He vowed to punish these abusers according his nation’s laws. 

    He was also optimistic about ending decades of conflict that have raged between the government and more than a dozen ethnic groups since the country formerly known as Burma won independence from Britain in 1948. 

    "Very possibly over the coming weeks we will have a nationwide ceasefire and the guns will go silent everywhere in Myanmar for the very first time in over 60 years," he said. 

    British Prime Minister David Cameron has previously urged the president to defend human rights during talks, especially those related to the minority Muslims in Myanmar. 

    "We are particularly concerned about what has happened in Rakhine province and to the Rohingya Muslims," he said. 

    Development Secretary Justine Greening later announced US$45.2 million in aid "to provide essential healthcare services, education and humanitarian aid to those affected by conflict." 

    THE INDIA TIMES | BBC | GUARDIAN | NATALIA SANTI