Most are kept in appalling conditions, some on death row or solitary confinement, in tiny dirty bare concrete cells with just as bucket as a toilet. They are not given proper food to stay healthy, and when they get sick they don’t get proper medical care. Some have been moved to remote prisons to make it very hard for their families to visit, and even if families to travel for days to see them, they are only allowed 15-20 minutes to talk. Torture is still being used against political prisoners.
Burma’s government is using political prisoners as human bargaining chips, releasing small numbers to gain positive publicity in an attempt to get sanctions lifted without making fundamental democratic reforms.
At the same time as promising reforms, the Burmese Army has stepped up attacks against ethnic civilians, with almost 150,000 forced to flee their homes in the past year. Women are being gang-raped and homes mortar-bombed.
Later this week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will meet Burma’s new President, Thein Sein, on the fringes of a summit of South East Asian countries.
This is an opportunity for him to demand the immediate release of all political prisoners, and a nationwide ceasefire.
Send an urgent message to Ban Ki-moon now!