The beam in their neighbor’s eye
The release of Aung San Suu Kyi in November last year was, of course, very welcome. Alas, it did not signify any real political change in Burma. While Aung San Suu Kyi is finally free, more than 2200 political prisoners are still suffering in Burmese prisons.
In Hkamti Prison, labor rights activist Su Su Nway is currently serving an 8-year prison sentence for participating in peaceful protests. How long will she have to suffer for exercising the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association? How long will it take before political activists like Su Su Nway and Ko Mya Aye can enjoy any freedom at all?
That, of course, depends on the Burmese junta. Sadly, this brutal regime probably won’t release any of its more than 2200 political prisoners any time soon. Not, that is, without a little help from its friends. Or pressure from its neighbors.
It is way past time for Burma’s neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to remove the specks from their eyes so that they can see clearly to remove the beam from their neighbor’s eye.
Urge the ASEAN countries to press the Burmese regime to release immediately and unconditionally all prisoners of conscience, and to ensure that the Burmese people can enjoy the freedoms of expression, assembly and association.
UPDATE: According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), Su Su Nway was released in the prisoner amnesty on 12. October 2011. However, more than 1700 political prisoners still suffer in Burmese prisons.