Director-general calls for release of journalist U Win Tin from jailParis - In a letter to the Prime Minister of Myanmar (Burma), Senior General Than Shwe, UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura on Friday called for the release of 72-year-old journalist U Win Tin, laureate of the 2001 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, who has been in jail since July 1989.
In his letter, Mr Matsuura voiced "grave concern over the continued imprisonment in appalling conditions" of the former editor of the daily newspaper Hanthawati, vice-chair of Myanmar's Writers' Association and founder of the National League for Democracy who is held in a hospital prison.
Evoking Mr Tin's "extremely poor health", the Director-General called on the Myanmar government "to demonstrate its strength, compassion and sincerity in the reconciliation process by releasing U Win Tin and thus enabling this journalist to receive the medical treatment he so urgently requires."
Mr Matsuura already appealed for U Win Tin's release in an address on World Press Freedom Day, on May 3. Speaking in Manila, Philippines, the Director-General described freedom of expression as "one of the most basic of human rights and a cornerstone of democracy" before saying that "common humanity and justice demand nothing less than his [U Win Tin's] immediate release."