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    Myanmar: UN chief welcomes release of dozens of political prisoners

    Chit Thura Ko Ko, a Myanmar political prisoner who
    was released from Insein Prison after receiving amnesty from Myanmar’s
    President Thein Sein, talks to journalists outside the entrance of the prison
    Tuesday, July 23, 2013, in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar started releasing nearly 70
    political prisoners Tuesday, just days after the president promised during a
    European tour to free all who remain behind bars by the end of the year. (AP
    Photo/Khin Maung Win)
    July 23, 2013

    23 July 2013 Secretary-General Ban
    Ki-moon welcomed the release of 73 political prisoners in Myanmar yesterday, as
    well as the announcement by the country’s leader that the rest will be freed by
    the end of the year.
    Hundreds of political prisoners have been released,
    including some 650 in January 2012, since President Thein Sein initiated a
    series of reforms two years ago following the establishment of a new
    Government. He stated during a recent visit to Europe that all remaining
    prisoners of conscience would be freed by year’s end.
    Mr. Ban welcomed yesterday’s release in a statement
    issued by his spokesperson. “He hopes that these and other measures undertaken
    recently in the country’s transition to democracy will further strengthen
    efforts toward a comprehensive nation-wide cease-fire and national
    reconciliation in Myanmar,” the statement noted.
    During his visit to the South-east Asian nation in
    April of last year, Mr. Ban outlined a four-point agenda for action to advance
    national reconciliation and the democratic transition that includes
    implementing measures such as resettling displaced communities and releasing
    political prisoners.
    The agenda also entails increasing investments in
    health and education so that the population can quickly see the benefits of the
    democratic transition in their daily lives; increasing international
    development assistance; and fostering an inclusive democratic culture which
    respects human rights and in particular freedom of speech.