Release of political prisoners in Myanmar
Foreign Minister Bob Carr today welcomed the decision by the Government of Myanmar to grant amnesty to 514 prisoners, including many detained on political grounds.
Senator Carr was speaking following talks with Myanmar’s Parliamentary Speaker, HE Shwe Mann, in Canberra yesterday (September 18).
“This amnesty is another key step in Myanmar political reform,” Senator Carr said.
“It’s a further sign the leadership of Myanmar is serious in its efforts to move towards democracy.
“We will be seeking further advice through our post in Yangon on the timing of releases and details of individuals.
“But I congratulate the Myanmar Government, including President Thein Sein who I met earlier this year, on this step toward normalising political discourse by granting amnesty to those detained on political grounds.”
Speaker Shwe Mann is in Australia this week to study the work of the Australian Parliament and its committees.
Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the world:
• only half of all children in Myanmar will complete primary school
• 70,000 children under five years old die each year, from largely preventable causes; and
• around 10 per cent of children under five are severely malnourished.
Australian aid to Myanmar will more than double to $100 million per year by 2015, with a focus on education and basic health care in remote and regional centres.