Action against political dissidents harms democratization efforts

Two associations working on political prisoners’ rights in Myanmar have issued a statement saying the government’s actions against political dissidents and protesters pose a threat to democratisation and national reconciliation efforts.The statement was issued on Saturday by the Former Political Prisoners Society and the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.The statement also said even by Myanmar’s 67th Independence Day, the Myanmar people still do not enjoy basic human rights or the fruits of independence.Moreover, the Myanmar government continues to violate the human rights of students and workers and confiscate land from farmers. Constitutional change is necessary to end these violations, the statement said.It also said 164 political prisoners remain in jails across the country, and 203 political activists currently face lawsuits.In the statement, the two associations called for the unconditional release of political prisoners and an end to charges against political activists as the government proceeds with its democratic transition and national reconciliation.The associations said they would continue to work together with other relevant associations and the government to ensure the wellbeing of political prisoners.The government recently announced that no political prisoners remain in jail, which civil organisations working on prisoners’ rights contest.