Human Rights

UN urges Myanmar junta to release thousands of prisoners

The UN Human Rights Office on Friday urged the Myanmar junta to release thousands of people who remain in detention for opposing military rule.

"Even as news emerged about the amnesty to mark the country's independence day, we continued to receive reports of people being detained for opposing military rule, many of whom have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment," said Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement.

"Such detentions are not only intended to silence the junta’s critics but are also designed to instill fear," Laurence added.

He stressed that the pathway out of Myanmar’s crisis "is not by locking people up – it is by allowing them to freely, fully, and effectively participate in political life."

The military junta in Myanmar said Wednesday that it will free a total of 7,012 inmates from jails across the country to mark the Southeast Asian nation’s Independence Day on Jan. 4.

The Burmese military, locally known as Tatmadaw, launched a coup in Feb. 2021 which was met with widespread civic unrest. The junta repressed protests violently, despite UN warnings that the country had descended into civil war.

The UN rights office has said at least 2,316 people, including 188 children, have been killed in Myanmar since the military seized power.

Thousands of others were imprisoned, including the National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been jailed for 33 years.

Source: Anadolu Agency