Blue Shirt Campaign Demands Release of Political Prisoners

By Htun Htun 20 April 2017

RANGOON — Politicians and activists will wear blue shirts on Friday to commemorate renowned journalist and politician U Win Tin and all political prisoners still held in Burma’s jails.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) organized the campaign, to be held on the three-year anniversary of the death of National League for Democracy (NLD) co-founder and political prisoner U Win Tin.

“The campaign is to remind the government that there are political prisoners who are still behind bars and to demand their release,” Ko Bo Kyi of AAPP told reporters, adding that they would not march for the occasion.

There are 178 political prisoners in Burma, according to AAPP. To show support for them, Ko Bo Kyi urged people to wear blue shirts.

“The international community thinks there are no political prisoners here now. The campaign is to show that there are,” he said.

A memorial will take place at Tawwin Hninzi Hall on Friday for U Win Tin, known also with the prefix ‘Hanthawaddy’ to his name for the newspaper he edited that was critical of the late Burmese dictator Ne Win’s regime.

Ko Tun Kyi said that people would also visit his tomb in Yay Way cemetery, North Okkalapa Township.

U Win Tin was imprisoned by the military regime for 19 years from 1989 to 2008 for his writings and his role in the NLD.

On his release he kept his blue prison shirt and pledged to wear blue shirts every day until all political prisoners were released. He continued to wear the color until his death.

Members of the U Win Tin Foundation and the Burma Campaign UK, and former political prisoners will join the campaign.