Despite the Burmese government's official denial that it holds political prisoners, many Burmese activists remain imprisoned for their perceived or real involvement in resisting the junta government. While in jail, these prisoners have faced myriad human rights violations including torture and deprivation of healthcare.
PHR welcomes the recent release of two Backpack Health Worker medics who were abducted by the Burma Army in Karen State, Burma in October of last year. The Backpack Health Worker Team is a community-based organization that provides medical care to civilians in war-torn Karen State.
Last week the human rights group Arakan Project released a report on children’s rights in Northern Arakan State, in western Burma. Arakan State is home to about 735,000 Rohingya Muslims, one of the most oppressed ethnic minorities in Burma.
Secretary Clinton has an opportunity to call attention to attacks on ethnic groups during her upcoming visit.
In the last two weeks the international press has applauded the Burmese government as it made some important steps toward democracy. In early October the government halted construction on a dam project on the Irrawaddy River, saying “it was against the will of the people.” This week, the government freed 206 political prisoners.