Ban calls on Myanmar to consider ‘early action’ on release of prisoners

By United Nations
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The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed a meeting between Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and a Myanmar Government minister, and urged the Government to consider release of political prisoners, according to a statement issued by a spokesperson.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the meeting today in Yangon between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Minister for Social Welfare U Aung Kyi,” it said. “He notes that the parties have expressed satisfaction at their positive talks and their intention to cooperate further on matters beneficial to the people of Myanmar.”

“In line with the international community's expectations and Myanmar's national interest, the Secretary-General hopes such Government of Myanmar to consider early action on the release of political prisoners in that country,” it said.

Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Myanmar, visited the country earlier in the year, spoke with Government officials, met with Ms. Suu Kyi and reported to the security council that although he welcomed some recent releases of political prisoners, he “reiterated the UN's call for the urgent release of all political prisoners,” a UN spokesperson said at the time.

While the initial sentence reductions and resulting release of some political prisoners is a small step in the right direction, it has been short of expectation and is insufficient, he said.

Last month Ms. Suu Kyi called on the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) to expand its activities in Myanmar and help promote social justice there.

In a video message to the International Labour Conference of the ILO in Geneva she said: “In its attempt to eliminate forced labour and the recruitment of child soldiers, the ILO has inevitably been drawn into work related to rule of law, prisoners of conscience and freedom of association.”

Ms. Suu Kyi, an opposition leader put under house arrest for almost 15 years, was released on 13 November last year.