Target: Thein Sein, President of Myanmar
Goal: Applaud the release of a protester imprisoned for peacefully fighting against government violence and corruption.
A prisoner of conscience arrested for for protesting electricity price hikes and calling for an investigation into the death of a journalist in military custody has been released after spending most of the past year in prison. His sentence, originally slated to last a year, was reduced. International pressure undoubtedly played a role in Thein Aung Myint’s release, and the efforts of activists all over the world, including those here at ForceChange, cannot be overstated. Sign the petition praising Myanmar for Thein Aung Myint’s release and encouraging similar outcomes for other prisoners of conscience.
Although Thein Aung Myint’s release is a positive step, it is only one of many actions required to bring Myanmar’s human rights standards up to internationally-approved levels. Many other prisoners of conscience remain behind bars in Myanmar. The release of Thein Aung Myint offers a prime opportunity to shine a spotlight on Myanmar’s prison and legal systems.
Myanmar has responded in the past to international pressure, amending its Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Law two years after it was originally passed to bring it closer to internationally-approved standards. It now has the opportunity to continue improving its human rights record.
The release of Thein Aung Myint gives us cause for celebration, but the political backdrop against which he was imprisoned in the first place should give us pause. Sign the petition and commend Myanmar for this positive step while encouraging it to continue along this path toward a brighter future.
I am writing to commend you on the release of Thein Aung Myint, a political activist imprisoned as a result of his peaceful human rights work. The reductions to his sentence and his subsequent early release constitute human rights victories for Myanmar and are praiseworthy indeed.
As wonderful as Thein Aung Myint’s release is, however, we would do well to remember that many other prisoners of conscience continue to live behind bars in Myanmar. I urge you to use Thein Aung Myint’s release as a springboard for more change and for a reevaluation of the laws surrounding peaceful protest in Myanmar.
In the meantime, however, please let me offer my sincere congratulations on the decision to free Thein Aung Myint. I am happy to know that he will be able to continue his important human rights work without interference.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wally Gobetz