This is the message from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit human rights group, which released their latest tally of prisoners for September on October 6. It includes a reminder that political activists are typically jailed under criminal laws or Section 18 of the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act – protesting without permission - that continues to account for a large number of these arrests and incarcerations.
In September, AAPP documented the sentencing of 11 political activists, the indictment of 13 individuals, including two detained, and the release of two political prisoners.
The Thailand-based AAPP expressed concern in their latest press release over the comments of U Aung Thein, deputy minister in the President’s Office and secretary of the Verification Committee for the Release of Remaining Political Prisoners, who was quoted by the media as stating that the committee may be disbanded as there are almost no remaining political prisoners.
U Aung Thein argued that those that do remain are incarcerated under criminal offences, AAPP points out.
Issues concerning media freedom in Myanmar persist, according to the AAPP, noting that the Government has decided to bring defamation charges against two publications in Myanmar, after negotiations through the Interim Press Council failed to resolve the disputes.
AAPP also notes that the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC) submitted a proposal to the government urging them to sign the International Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Covenant and the Civil and Political Rights Covenant.