Switzerland welcomes the release of political prisoners in Myanmar

Bern, 13.10.2011 - Switzerland welcomes the release of a large number of political prisoners in Myanmar. At the same time it calls on the Government of Myanmar to release all political prisoners quickly and unconditionally, to take further measures to build a democratic state in which the rule of law is respected, and to strengthen human rights.

The released individuals and those still imprisoned for political reasons and their families have devoted a large part of their lives to the non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights. This unreserved commitment to the service of humanity deserves our fullest recognition and our deep respect.

This release of political prisoners is one of a series of positive developments in Myanmar in the last few months. Switzerland sees the release of political prisoners as an important step towards national reconciliation, democracy, and an improved human rights situation. It also acknowledges that the Government of Myanmar is ready to introduce economic reforms which are expected to lead to improved standards of living and social justice in the country. It encourages the Government of Myanmar to continue along the path of political and economic reform. It will require constructive cooperation with all relevant actors at the national and international levels. Switzerland is prepared to support Myanmar in this transition process and is currently reviewing appropriate concrete measures.

National reconciliation also includes an end to the ethnic conflicts that have been raging in the country for decades and which have caused severe suffering among the civilian population and resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons. Switzerland appeals to the Government of Myanmar and the ethnic groups to make offers of an immediate cease-fire and to enter into constructive negotiations.

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