The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar [official website], Tomas Ojea Quintana, on Wednesday welcomed [press release] a recent release of 56 prisoners of conscience in Myanmar [JURIST news archive] through presidential amnesty. Quintana noted that the releases are important for a "democratic transition and national reconciliation." Still, he stressed the continuing arrests and maltreatment of activists in the country. He urged that the releases should be unconditional, referring to the current Code of Criminal Procedure that allows conditions to the discharge of prisoners. Quintana called for legislative reforms that would address the injustice against prisoners of conscience. Moreover, he said that former prisoners should be granted more freedom and equality in terms of travel and employment. Quintana is expected to present a report on human rights situation in Myanmar to the General Assembly [official website] on October 24.
In August Human Rights Watch (HRW) [official website] urged Myanmar's government to revise its draft association laws [JURIST report], which, if enacted, would require nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to obtain official registration to operate and would impose criminal penalties on NGOs that failed to register. Earlier in August Quintana applauded [JURIST report] recent government efforts to encourage a culture of respect between clashing political and religious sects but recognized the need for increased government action on a wide array of issues. In July Quntana praised the release [JURIST report] of 73 prisoners of consciousness in Myanmar.