To: Mr. Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade

Dear Mr. Gilmore
In partnership with Burma Action Ireland, we are writing to express our concern that the Burmese government is continuing to arrest farmers, activists, human rights defenders, and ethnic minorities. This is despite the Burmese government’s claim that all political prisoners/prisoners of conscience were to be released by the end of December 2013.

The release of hundreds of political prisoners in the past three years has been long overdue and is very welcome. However, many individuals have been granted conditional amnesty only and hundreds more are currently being processed by Burma’s courts or detained without charges. Even those who are fortunate enough to be recognised as political prisoners and subsequently released are subject to intimidation and re-arrest.

For example, Naw Ohn Hla, arrested in August 2013 for organizing peaceful protests against government abuses at the Letpadaung copper mine, was granted amnesty in November 2013. She had been previously arrested in 2009 and granted amnesty in 2011. On December 10, 2013, less than one month after her second high-profile release, she was re-arrested and charged with offences dating back to 2007.

Notably, Naw Ohn Hla and all other political prisoners have been released only conditionally. Conditional releases mean that individuals can be re-arrested at any time if the government decides they have violated the terms of their parole. Individuals who are re-arrested and re-sentenced are subject to serve both their new sentence and the remainder of their previous sentence.

Many of those being arrested are from the Rohingya and Kachin ethnic groups. Exact numbers of ethnic political prisoners are difficult to verify. Approximately 1,000 Rohingya were detained in Arakan State following the outbreak of violence in June 2012. Most remain in prison, though at least 68 died in custody before December 2012. The hundreds of detained Rohingya who have been charged and convicted have faced great discrimination, and have been denied due process – legal representation, definite sentences and trials. Many are likely to be innocent.

We urge the Irish government to take action at EU level to request that the Burmese government:
1. Release unconditionally all political prisoners immediately.
2. Ensure that all prisoners, in particular Kachin and Rohingya detainees, receive proper due process rights, legal representation, and trial opportunities in accordance with international law.
3. Establish a permanent independent political prisoner review mechanism involving international expertise, with the power to accept submissions and independently investigate cases and with the power to make recommendations to the government and Parliament.

Thank you for your consideration of these recommendations. We hope that you can act promptly to support the process of the full and transparent release of all political prisoners in Burma and the implementation of much-needed legal reform.

All signed petitions are sent directly to the Minister at

Burma/Myanmar Petition

This petition is now closed.

End date: May 31, 2014

Signatures collected: 125

Signature goal: 500

125 signatures

Number of Signatures: 125

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