Open Letter to the President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

Mr. President,
1.    Myanmar National Human Rights Commission had in an open letter dated 10, October, 2011 submitted an appeal for the release of prisoners by granting amnesty to them. In our submission, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission humbly requested the President, as a reflection of his magnanimity to grant amnesty to those prisoners, convicted for breach of existing laws, who do not pose a threat to the stability of State and public tranquility, in the interest of national races to enable them to participate in whatever way they can in the nation-building tasks.
2.    The Commission is greatly heartened that the President on 11 October 2011 granted amnesty to 6359 prisoners.
3.    The fact that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission had made a submission for amnestying the prisoners and that the Government had granted the amnesty received widespread support and welcome both domestically and internationally. It has, in our opinion, generated greater interest in and recognition of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission.
4.    At the same time, there had been assertion by the Secretary General of the United Nations and a number of countries that there were nearly 2000 of what is referred to as “Prisoners of Conscience”. It has also been asserted that out of 6359 prisoners released, there were approximately 250 prisoners in the said category.
5.    In this regard, Myanmar National Human Rights Commission had made enquiries with the relevant ministries. The result of the enquiries is that the relevant ministries had asked for a list from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar Mr. Thomas Ojea Quintana and upon checking, it was learnt that of the nearly 2000 prisoners on the list only 526 were actually in prison. We are therefore heartened that out of the 526 prisoners on that list, some 250 were released under the amnesty.
6.    The release of the remaining prisoners, convicted for breach of existing laws who do not pose a threat to the stability of State and public tranquility, in the interest of national races, will not only enable them to participate in whatever way they can in the nation-building tasks but also will in a way help promote national unity.
7.    Accordingly, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission again humbly requests the President as a reflection of his magnanimity to include those prisoners when a subsequent amnesty is granted.

Respectfully,
Win Mra
Chairman
(for) Members of the Myanmar National
Human Rights Commission

Date: 12 November, 2011
Yangon.