Amnesty International is known for petitions and letter writing, and many naysayers will scoff at this work and say that it’s not at all effective. No one is going to read these letters, they say. Why would totalitarian governments listen to normal Americans, they ask. What do these people and these countries have to do with us, they wonder.
If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. These naysayers are simply part of the problem, because they often are quick to complain without offering a better way to help these people. These naysayers are also part of the problem because we know that our solution of writing letters and gathering signatures for petitions has worked. Below is a list of some of the folks that we’ve helped in the past few years, folks who were imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, such as the freedom of expression.
Khun Kawiro Has Been Released! On July 4 Nonetheless!
Our most recent prisoner of conscience, Khun Kawiro, along with a number of others, has been released from prison in Myanmar! This is thanks in part to the hard work of our chapter, and many other Amnesty members across the U.S who wrote letters and gathered signatures for Kawiro and the others.
There may be folks who doubt the power of letter writing and petitions, especially those that are targeted at dictatorships and military governments like Myanmar. However, if those letters and petitions come with persistence and belief in the human rights work, even if it may take years and years to do so, great things can be accomplished.
Mie Mie and Htay Kywe, Two of Our 88 Generation Students
The release of at least 130 political prisoners in Myanmar last month, including well-known dissidents Htay Kywe, U Khun Htun Oo, Min Ko Naing, and U Gambira is a significant move, Amnesty International said.
The prisoner amnesty is the second this year and the fourth under Myanmar’s post-elections government, bringing the total number of political prisoners released to at least 477. Two of the prisoners released, Htay Kywe and Mie Mie, were special prisoners of conscience assigned to the St. Louis chapter. The chapter is proud to say that our work paid off and that we were part of the solution of getting these prisoners released.
But as more than a thousand political prisoners may remain behind bars, many of whom are prisoners of conscience, the amnesty must continue until all are freed according to Amnesty International. Next, the St. Louis chapter will be focusing its efforts on a young man named Khun Kawiro, another Burmese prisoner who was arrested along with two other activists after peacefully campaigning for a “no” vote on the referendum on the new constitution in 2008. He was tortured and sentenced to 37 years imprisonment. His two colleagues were released on January 13 2012, but the government has so far refused to release Khun Kawrio.
Ma Khin Khin Leh released from prison!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Mah Khin Khin Leh was an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience and Amnesty St. Louis group has joined with countless other activists and has been writing for her release for years. This is a huge victory!
Her release followed an announcement by the Myanmar government that it would release 6,313 prisoners, including some 24 political prisoners. The 24 released political prisoners were held in three different prisons: Myintkyina prison, Insein prison and Kale prison. Amnesty welcomes the releases, but notes that many more political prisoners remain jailed in Myanmar. We thank all those who campaigned for Ma Khin Khin Leh’s release, and remind you that Amnesty International continues to call for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all other prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.
You letters make a difference! Amnesty St. Louis is thrilled to have been a part of this. THANK YOU for all you do as a Human Rights Defender!