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Rights groups call for release of Myanmar political prisoners

[JURIST] Advocacy groups from around the world signed a joint statement [PDF] on Thursday that called for the release of all political prisoners in Myanmar. The release of the petition aligned with the third anniversary of U Win Tin's death, a political prisoner in Myanmar for close to 20 years. The 22 rights groups that signed the petition stated their goal is to create a mechanism in Myanmar that will review the detentions of prisoners and free those who have been, "deprived of their liberty simply for the peaceful exercise of their human rights or as a result of unfair, politically motivated trials." The petition argued that the Myanmar Scrutinizing Committee into the Prisoners of Conscience Affairs Committee, created in 2015 to review detentions, has disregarded its mission, refused to publish its guidelines and has never met as a 28-member body.

Myanmar has seen its human rights record closely monitored since 2015 when a cease-fire agreement [JURIST report] was signed by President Thein Sein [BBC profile]. The agreement established an uneasy peace between the government and various rebel groups. In March the UN urged [JURIST report] Myanmar to investigate alleged rights violations against the Rohingya Muslim population committed in Myanmar. In April 2016 the nation released [JURIST report] 69 students who had been held for more than a year without trial because of protests asking for more academic freedom.

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