Target: Derek Mitchell, Embassy of the United States to Burma
Goal: Release prisoners arrested for peacefully expressing their opinions.
Myanmar citizens are being arrested for expressing their beliefs. Amnesty International labels such detainees as “prisoners of conscience,” and these peaceful demonstrators face being charged and thrown in jail. The number of people arrested is believed to be in the hundreds, and Myanmar’s president must set them free. Nobody should be incarcerated for peacefully expressing his or her opinion.
Myanmar overcame its military rule in 2011 and adopted a quasi-civilian government. At that time, the international community demanded the country’s new president, Thein Sein, release prisoners of conscience, which Sein did. Hundreds of prisoners saw freedom after spending years behind bars.
Unfortunately, it appears that Myanmar has reverted to its old ways, and authorities have taken hundreds of people into custody for openly criticizing the government. Prisoners include student leaders, journalists, community leaders and lawyers, among other citizens, which is extremely distressing considering the country has made such strides over the past four years.
Myanmar is holding a general election on Nov. 8, so now is the time for the international community to apply pressure on President Sein once again. Encourage Sein to respect the freedoms afforded Myanmar citizens in 2011 and release all prisoners of conscience now.
Dear Ambassador Mitchell,
It is my understanding that numerous peaceful activists and human rights defenders have been arrested in Myanmar. With the Myanmar election set for Nov. 8, it is critical that the United States once again encourage President Thein Sein to release the country’s newly arrested prisoners of conscience. It is distressing that Myanmar is reverting to its militaristic leadership after making such positive strides in 2011.
Nobody should be denied the right to express their opinion peacefully, and Myanmar citizens were afforded that right when the quasi-citizen government took over. It is distressing that these people are continuing to be arrested with the possibility of facing charges and jail time. Human rights must remain on the forefront of our international efforts with Myanmar, and it appears that now is the time to act again.
Please reach out to President Sein and encourage him to order the release of all of Myanmar’s prisoners of conscience and detainees. We cannot allow the country to revert to abusive acts against human rights. It’s come too far, and we’ve come too far in our positive international relations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Racoles