Free Myanmar’s Political Prisoners

Target: President of Myanmar Thein Sein

Goal: Grant amnesty to all of the political prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.

Having been ruled under an oppressive military dictatorship since 1962, Myanmar, or Burma, has recently begun opening up to the international community as well as democratizing its political system.

Yet, enormous obstacles to its potentially flowering democracy abound, especially in the form of 1,800 prisoners of conscience, that is, political prisoners incarcerated merely for voicing their opinions.

With nearly 30% of its population living in poverty in addition to a continuing civil war between the Burmese government and various ethnic minorities, the country is sharply divided with most resentment pouring towards the dominant Burmese population. Thus, instituting democratic reforms, principally freedom of speech, could lead to increased cooperation among the disparate ethnic groups, improved political participation and general security.

In 2010, Myanmar had its first elections in 20 years, which was a promising step forward even amidst cries by many in the international community denouncing the elections as putting a democratic face on an autocratic structure. While the new President, Thein Sein, has implemented some substantial reforms, such as relaxing restrictions on media freedom, he has yet to grant amnesty to the political prisoners wrongfully held for protesting against the government.

The release of these political prisoners is a critical turning point for Myanmar, indicating the government’s determination to steer the country towards democratic development.

Sign this petition demanding that Myanmar grant amnesty to these prisoners of conscience conscious.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President of Myanmar Thein Sein,

After having been ruled with an iron fist under an oppressive military dictatorship since 1962, Myanmar has recently begun opening up its political and economic system to the international community in an effort to somewhat democratize the country. However, the process of democratic transition is obstructed by the continued imprisonment of 1,800 prisoners of conscience, or prisoners that have been incarcerated just for voicing their discontent.

With nearly 30 percent of Myanmar’s population lives in desperate poverty, the country is also ravaged by an explosive, ethnically divided civil war between the Burmese government and various ethnic minorities magnifying the need for strong democratic reforms.

While the 2010 elections held in Myanmar for the first time in 20 years was a significant step forward, many in the international community have rightly called the elections a façade, veiling the still strong military control. Thein Sein, the new President of Myanmar, has instituted some noteworthy reforms, such as loosening controls on the media, but he has yet to grant amnesty to the 1,800 political prisoners.

The release of these prisoners is critical to the country’s transition to democracy, symbolizing the birth of a central tenet of democracy: public deliberation and dissent.

Therefore, I respectfully urge you to release the 1,800 prisoners of conscience in an effort to improve the lives of each citizen of Myanmar through democratization.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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45 Signatures

  • Nikki Owen
  • Nikki Owen
  • Nikki Owen
  • Nikki Owen
  • Ana Maria Mainhardt Carpes
  • Darlene Roepke
  • Eveline Mutsaerts
  • Lynn Juozilaitis
  • Ann Blank
  • tam O
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