Further to news that two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis have been freed, Gary Allison, director of Prisoners of Conscience, says:
“Prisoners of Conscience welcomes the release of the two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe, but there is an ongoing need to support the struggle for human rights in Myanmar.
Prisoners of Conscience has provided support to prisoners of conscience in Myanmar/Burma since the 2000s, but there are many more who still need our help. Our aim is to support as many people as we can with the funds we have available, people in considerable distress whose lives have been destroyed by persecution.”
The data on the grants awarded by Prisoners of Conscience in Myanmar/Burma.
The amounts have varied. Last year (2018) we made grants totalling £5,000 through a referral agency based in Thailand. These grants supported the following prisoners of conscience and their families in Myanmar:
- Financial assistance to 92 prisoners of conscience (PoCs)
- Medical fees to 75 PoCs
- Education support to 9 PoCs
- Support for 48 torture victims
- Travel costs for 25 PoCs
A breakdown of the spend:
- Healthcare £3,878
- Education and capacity training £942
- Education support to PoC families £220
An ongoing need for support
According to Human Rights Watch, Myanmar security forces continued to commit grave abuses against Rohingya Muslims throughout 2018. Peaceful protesters have been charged and jailed. Others have been killed. The government refuses to allow independent investigators access to Rakhine State, and punishes local journalists for reporting on military abuses. As of November 2018, there are an estimated 36 political prisoners serving prison sentences and 269 facing trial in Myanmar.