Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Govt releases political prisoners
Assistance groups say at least 24 dissidents included in amnesty
- John Zaw, Mandalay
- July 3, 2012
In the first amnesty for political prisoners since landmark polls on April 1 saw opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi elected as a member of parliament, prisoner assistance groups in Myanmar and Thailand said those released included members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Kyaw Kyaw, an NLD member sentenced to 29 years for political activities in 2002, and Than Zaw, another party member who campaign groups say was wrongly convicted and sentenced to 31 years in prison for a bomb attack on a bus in Rangoon in 1989, were among dissidents released today.
âI thank those who have called for releasing all remaining political prisoners but I donât say âthank youâ to the authorities who released me today as I was wrongly accused and put into prison with injustice,â said Than Zaw, who was released from Thayet in the centre of Myanmar where, he added, nine other political prisoners remain behind bars.
Todayâs prisoner release comes after Myanmarâs Minister of Industry Soe Thane said the government was considering an amnesty for the remainder of the countryâs hundreds of detained dissidents during a visit to Oslo just days after Suu Kyi made her long-overdue Nobel Peace Prize speech in the same city.
âWe will call for all remaining political prisoners to be released,â Suu Kyi said at a press conference at her party headquarters in Yangon today.
The NLD says 330 political prisoners remained behind bars, while in May the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) put the number at 471 with hundreds more still unverified.
The US government has called on the new military-dominated government in Myanmar to release them all, one of the main conditions it says must be met before all sanctions are lifted after restrictions were eased following the April 1 election.
Thet Oo, a former political prisoner who is part of a new Yangon-based assistance program for detained dissidents, noted that the number released today was only a tiny fraction of the total still behind bars.
âIf the government releases [dissidents] slowly like this, it may hinder the development of the country,â he said.
The government has in the past officially denied the existence of political prisoners stating they had violated state laws.
An official statement today in the state-run daily The New Light of Myanmar talked of ânational reconciliationâ and enabling âall [those released] to participate in the political process.â
âIf they [the government] really want âreconciliationâ they should release all political prisoners unconditionally,â said Bo Gyi, joint secretary of AAPP. âWe need to put more pressure on the government.â
Myanmar releases more political prisoners