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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                                 14  September 2011

Myanmar releases prisoners

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Myanmar has released about 20,000 prisoners this year under an amnesty programme, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"Approximately 20,000 inmates from prisons and labour camps were released until the end of July 2011" under a amnesty order issued by President Thein Sein in May, Wunna Maung Lwin told the UN Human Rights Council.

He did not give details on the types of prisoners released, so the question remains about the release of political prisoners.

A Myanmar official had said in May that the government would release 17,000 prisoners under a clemency programme, but critics complained that more than 2,000 political detainees were still languishing in jail.

In his speech underlining the human rights situation in the country, the foreign minister also pointed out that the International Committee of the Red Cross has been granted access to prisons "with a view to upgrading water and sanitary facilities there."


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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