Burma: Human rights council must pressure authorities to release detainees

Call for peaceful protestors to be freed – and for Louise Arbour to visit

Amnesty International today (2 October) urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to urgently address the situation in Burma by calling on the Burmese authorities to release all those detained for participating in peaceful assemblies.

Amnesty International is also calling on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to visit the country.

"We urge the Council to strongly condemn the ongoing grave human rights violations in Burma and to demand an immediate halt to the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations," Amnesty International said in a statement presented at the special session of the Council held in Geneva today.

"It is the duty of the Burmese government to account for all those detained by its law enforcement agents, military and other security forces. Detainees should not be held in secret places of detention, and must be granted access to independent lawyers, medical personnel and to family members.

"The Burmese government has a duty to account for the whereabouts of those detained and to guarantee their safety from torture or other ill-treatment.”

Amnesty International fears that the risk of torture and other ill-treatment in Burma remains high, as widespread patterns of abuse of detainees, particularly during interrogation and pre-trial detention, have become entrenched in Burma within a culture of total impunity spanning decades.

Amnesty International also urged the Burmese government to release all prisoners of conscience, numbering over 1,150 even before the current crisis. The releases must include the 150 plus people arrested in August at an early stage of the current crisis, unless they are charged with a recognisable criminal offence.

  • Take action now to demand the release of peaceful protesters
  • Join the demonstration in London on Saturday 6 October /li>
  • Find out more about the situation in Burma /li>

View latest press releases