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The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said it is launching what it calls “a blue shirt campaign” to lobby for the release of all remaining political prisoners in Burma.
It said the campaign marks the third anniversary of the death of veteran journalist and former political prisoner Win Tin, who died on 21 April 2014 in Rangoon. Even after he was released from jail, he continued to wear his blue prison shirt as a symbol of the country’s political repression.
There are currently 178 persons behind bars in Burma who are classified as prisoners of conscience. Some are imprisoned just for demanding civic and human rights, according to AAPP. Others were detained for criticising the military or government, while others were arrested for their alleged links to outlawed armed groups.
AAPP said it is important to highlight the issue because many countries now believe that Burma’s prisoners no longer hold political activists now that Aung San Suu Kyi is in power. However, they said, that is not the case.
AAPP joint secretary Bo Kyi said, “Please join us. Mark in your diary a note to wear a blue shirt on 21 April. Tell your friends to wear blue shirts. And take a picture with you in your blue shirt and post it on Facebook and other social media.”
He urged supporters to use the blueshirt4burma link for all campaign gestures.
Last week, the Office of State Counsellor Suu Kyi announced that the government was releasing 1,883 prisoners ahead of the traditional New Year water festival. Of the 1,883 persons freed last Wednesday, which included 233 women, none were considered political prisoners.