Sometimes campaigning can seem like we are banging our heads against a brick wall. Progress often seems frustratingly slow. But yesterday we received a message which is a reminder of how our campaigns are making a difference. It was from one of the political prisoners we have been campaigning for, and he had been released the day before:
"Thank you Burma Campaign and its supporters for all your hard work for my release. When I was in prison, I heard about Burma Campaign activities. I thought I wasn't going to be released to see my family before I died. Now I'm living in a refugee camp and situations are very difficult but I'm with my family again."
On Tuesday, President Thein Sein ordered the release of more than 3,000 prisoners. It was a general amnesty for prisoners nearing the end of their sentences. This happens fairly often in Burma, but among them was a handful of political prisoners.
This included two political prisoners whose cases we have highlighted as part of our 'No Political Prisoner Left Behind' campaign:
Rohingya community leader Kyaw Hla Aung, who was arrested in July 2013, and La Ring, an ethnic Kachin farmer who was arrested in June 2012, were both released on 7 October. Kachin political prisoner Mar la was also released.
There is no doubt their inclusion in the releases was a result of international attention on their cases. If we can get back to a position where the British government and others applied real pressure over political prisoners, we could see even more releases.
So thank you for supporting the campaign and for helping to free Burma's political prisoners. Let's keep going until no political prisoner is left behind bars.