[JURIST] The military government of Myanmar continues to arrest political dissidents [press release] despite assurances given by Prime Minister Thein Sein in November that the arrests had stopped and no more would take place, Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported Friday. There have been 96 arrests [Amnesty materials] since November and at least 700 of those arrested during September protests and 1,150 political prisoners held before the protests have yet to be released. In a statement [text] Catherine Baber, director of Amnesty's Asia-Pacific programme, said:
Four months on from the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, rather than stop its unlawful arrests the Myanmar government has actually accelerated them. The new arrests in December and January target people who have attempted to send evidence of the crackdown to the international community, clearly showing that the government's chief priority is to silence its citizens who would hold them to account.UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Paulo Pinheiro [official profile], issued a report [DOC text; JURIST report] in December that included recommendations for restoring order to Myanmar. Baber urged the international community Friday to further Pinheiro's work in the country:
In view of the accelerating rate of arrests and other human rights violations four months on, the international community should press the government of Myanmar to immediately invite Prof. Pinheiro back to the country to conduct the full-fledged fact-finding mission he has requested.On Thursday, foreign affairs officials from the US, UK, and France promised progress towards improved human rights in Myanmar would be a "priority" at the World Economic forum. Myanmar [JURIST news archive] began a crackdown on political dissidents late last year after Myanmar security officers arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrating against rising fuel prices and human rights abuses by the military regime. At least 10 people were killed when government soldiers shot into protesting crowds [JURIST report] and the government has said that some 3,000 people were arrested for participating in the protests. BBC News has more.