Myanmar says 20,000 prisoners released

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Myanmar has released about 20,000 prisoners this year under an amnesty programme, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"Approximately 20,000 inmates from prisons and labour camps were released until the end of July 2011" under a amnesty order issued by President Thein Sein in May, Wunna Maung Lwin told the UN Human Rights Council.

He did not give details on the types of prisoners released.

A Myanmar official had said in May that the government would release 17,000 prisoners under a clemency programme, but critics complained that more than 2,000 political detainees were still languishing in jail.

In his speech underlining the human rights situation in the country, the foreign minister also pointed out that the International Committee of the Red Cross has been granted access to prisons "with a view to upgrading water and sanitary facilities there."

© 2011 AFP

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