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Ethnic parties call for release of political prisoners, more human rights


New Delhi (Mizzima) – Eight political parties that contested in the 1990 general election have sent a letter citing four demands to UN special rapporteur for human rights in Burma Tomas Ojea Quintana.

The letter, which calls for more for human rights in ethnic areas and the release of all political prisoners, was sent through Aung San Suu Kyi when she met Quintana on Wednesday.

UN envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana prepares to speak with the media in the home of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon on Wednesday, August 24, after a one hour meeting. Photo: Mizzima
The letter, dated August 20, said, “In the ethnic inhabited war zones, women, including teenaged girls, are being raped and government soldiers are burning villages, looting and forcible seizing villagers’ belongings.”

Government troops are also forcing villagers to work as porters at the frontlines, the letter said.

“The UN Commission for Human Right should investigate what’s happening in ethnic inhabited areas and take actions accordingly,” ZNC party Chairman Pu Cing Tsing Thang said.

He also called for the release of all political prisoners unconditionally and setting up a tripartite dialogue to investigate human right violations in Burma.

“If they [the government] have a sincere intention, they should release all political dissidents who were imprisoned for their political conscience first, while also inviting back those dissidents who are in exile. This is a good time to talk about everything that will benefit the people,” Pu Cing Tsing Thang said.
 
The letter also called for recognizing the National League for Democracy and ethnic political parties that won in the 1990 general election, which was never honoured by the former junta.
 
The eight ethnic political parties said they supported an inclusive genuine dialogue with UN assistance including Aung San Suu Kyi, all political parties and ethnic groups to discuss national reconciliation with the government.
 
The letter asked Quintana to present their demands to President Thein Sein and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
 
“There is not yet a single line regarding the political prisoners found in President Thein Sein’s address to the country and Parliament. So we have to hope for the release of these prisoners with our fingers crossed,” said Nyunt Nyunt Oo, the mother of 88-Generation student leader Panneik Tun.
 
A total of 1,995 political prisoners including ethnic leaders Khun Tun Oo and General Hse Hten are serving prison sentences and many 88-Generation student leaders are still behind bars.

Ethnic parties that sent the letter include the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Mon National Democratic Front, Arakan League for Democracy, Kachin National Congress for Democracy, Zomi National Congress, Karen National Democracy Congress, United Nationalities League for Democracy and Democratic Organization for Kayan National Unity.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 August 2011 19:56 )  
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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