Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘prisoners of conscience’

Write for Rights

Dear Gabriel,

If you think writing letters is passé, that touching pen to paper is meaningless in the age of Facebook and Twitter, remember my story.

My name is Birtukan Mideksa, and your letters set me free.

I once had no hope of freedom. A single mother and former opposition party leader in Ethiopia, I was arrested in 2005 after my political party participated in protests disputing the results of the elections.

Security forces responded to the public outcry with deadly force, shooting dead 187 people and wounding 765 others.

I committed no crime. I was targeted solely for peacefully expressing my political views.

Help free other prisoners of conscience like me. Join Amnesty’s 2011 Write for Rights Global Write-a-thon. There are 15 urgent cases of abuse and injustice in need of your action.

The government in Ethiopia thought it could quell dissent by locking opponents away forever.

I was serving a life sentence in Kaliti Prison when Amnesty International members came to my defense. When my case was featured in the 2009 Write for Rights campaign, thousands of people called for my freedom.

Your letters were my protection during the months I spent in solitary confinement. You were my voice when I had none. Your letters kept hope alive at the darkest hours of need.

Thanks to Amnesty International, I regained my freedom in October 2010.

I am so grateful that your letters and action worked for me. Now I urge you to keep up your good work by taking action for others. I offer my voice for Amnesty International, and I hope that you will do the same.

Write with me. Join the 2011 Write for Rights campaign today.

In peace,
Birtukan Mideksa

Myanmar/Burma Prisoners

Myanmar must release all prisoners of conscience. (17 October 2011 – AI)

Image (below) : Su Su Nway (third from left) was an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience. She was released along with more than 200 other political prisoners. However at least four of the six people in this picture continue to languish behind bars, solely for exercising their right to freedom of speech and assembly. ©AAPPB

Myanmar released more than 6000 prisoners on 12 October 2011. But only about 200 of those released were political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience—that is, people held solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

The government of Myanmar needs to release all prisoners of conscience immediately.

There are possibly as many as 1800 political prisoners still languishing behind bars in Myanmar. For decades political activists in Myanmar have been arbitrarily detained, tortured during interrogation, subjected to unfair trials and imprisoned in inhumane conditions in Myanmar’s notorious prisons.


Last year, after Myanmar held its first elections in 20 years, the new government promised political reform. One of the key benchmarks for gauging the government’s sincerity about this promise is the release of all prisoners of conscience.

After this initial release of 200 political prisoners, expectations are high in Myanmar, across Asia and in other parts of the world. After years of campaigning our calls are gaining momentum.


Let’s redouble our efforts to make the Myanmar government listen. Add your name to this petition calling on the Chairman of the newly-established Myanmar National Human Rights Commission to press the President of Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience.

We aim to deliver your signatures to the Myanmar embassy in an ASEAN country on 13 November 2011, the first anniversary of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest.

Copies of this petition will also be sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, the Speaker of the Lower House, and the Chair of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).


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