Almost 6,000 prisoners have been released in Myanmar as part of an amnesty; 53 of them are political prisoners arrested for activism.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide – an organisation that tries to combat the persecution of people of faith across the globe – has welcomed the news.
The released prisoners were jailed after a crackdown on activists and political leaders following the military coup in February 2021.
It’s reported that 7,000 detainees remain.
Among the political prisoners released was the UK’s former ambassador to Myanmar, Vicky Bowman, who was arrested after being accused of breaking visa rules.
Also released was: Dr Myo Nyunt, a party spokesperson for the National League for Democracy, U Kyaw Tint Swe, a former Union minister in Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, Shwe Nawa Sayadaw, a Buddhist monk who had opposed the regime, satirical writer and critic of the military Maung Tha Cho, and leading pro-democracy activist Ko Mya Aye.
CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia Benedict Rogers said: “While we welcome the release of nearly 6,000 prisoners today, we encourage the international community to remember that an even greater number remain in detention.
“The Myanmar army continues to silence anyone it perceives as a threat or critic. It is responsible for the deaths of over 2,400 people since the coup took place, and the situation for religious and ethnic minorities has deteriorated significantly.
“CSW continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining prisoners, and for extensive and coordinated sanctions on the Myanmar military and its enterprises.
“A global arms embargo is essential to prevent the military from getting its hands on additional weapons with which it can wage violence on those calling for democracy.”