Thein Aung, an activist with the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society group who is serving a year-long sentence for taking part in a demonstration without government permission, has been put in solitary confinement and kept in stocks. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reports that the number of political prisoners in Burma has continued to rise, more than doubling so far this year to around 70 people. This figure is likely to be an undercount because non-government groups are not allowed to visit prisons to make an assessment of cases.
Burma Campaign UK is campaigning for a new review committee in Burma which will have the power to assess cases of people in jail because of their political activities, religion or ethnicity, and order their release.
A Presidential spokesperson has criticised Burma Campaign UK in the media and on his Twitter feed following our calls for President Thein Sein to publish his military record, including what he did during the pro-democracy uprising in Burma in 1988, in which thousands of people were killed. The spokesman even complained to BBC Burmese service for reporting our call.
The hysterical reaction from the Burmese government shows just how afraid they are of their dirty past in violations of human rights becoming public. They know this will damage their attempts to present themselves as genuine reformers. Accountability for their crimes is also their greatest fear.
Hugo Swire, Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Isn't a 'Bump in the Road'
Burma Campaign UK Director Mark Farmaner has written an article for Huffington Post criticising British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire for dismissing ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya as a 'bump in the road'. The Minister has been using this phrase to describe ongoing human rights violations in Burma, despite the reform process.
"Thousands more Rohingya will drown trying to flee Burma. More Rohingya children will die because of restrictions on humanitarian aid. But for Hugo Swire those dead children are merely inevitable bumps in the road, the overall direction of travel is good, British companies are winning electricity contracts with the Burmese government, and there is no need for a rethink on policy," writes Mark Farmaner.
This news update provides a short summary of the terrible ongoing human rights abuses in Burma, and how Burma Campaign UK is working tirelessly to end them. We won't let the international community forget about political prisoners left behind in Burma's jails, even though governments are more interested in talking about trade than human rights. We won't stop speaking up for the Rohingya, the most persecuted ethnic group in Burma, and we will always be holding the British government to account for their policies, and pressuring them to return to putting human rights first.
To do this we need money. Most of our income comes from people like you giving a regular donation of a few pounds a month. This is the best way of giving as it is income we can predict and depend on, so we can plan campaigns for the future. Hundreds of people giving just three pounds a month adds up quickly and helps us continue our campaign. So please consider making a regular donation.