President’s Office pushes ministries to review blacklists

President’s Office pushes ministries to review blacklists

The President’s Office has been pressing concerned government ministries to follow up on trimming their blacklists that ban foreign and Burmese nationals from entering the country.

Zaw Htay, director of the President’s Office, told DVB that several government ministries were being urged to remove the remaining 4,000 names from their blacklists after the government excised more than 2,000 names from the list in late August.

The director said the people whose names are still on the blacklist can contact the President’s Office through its website in order to have their names reviewed and potentially removed from the directory.

“They were blacklisted for various reasons in the past but we can get the concerned ministries to review their status,” said Zaw Htay.

“The ministries need to check first why they were banned.”

He said the ministries are to send their lists of names they decided to remove off their respective blacklists to the President’s Office before they announce their removal. According to Zaw Htay, most government ministries have their own blacklist.

While the government is allowing large numbers of previously barred political exiles and journalists to return to Burma, many fear that simply removing their name from the blacklist will not necessarily guarantee their safety once they return to the country.

In late August, National League for Democracy member Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min, who fled the country in 2008, became the first former-exile to be prosecuted after coming back to Burma.

Saw Kyaw Kyaw Min returned to Burma in May after Thein Sein invited the country’s exiled community to come back to the country as the nominally civil government unveiled new reforms.

In a press conference on Monday in Bangkok, former leaders of the All Burmese Democratic Front (ABSDF) called on the government to provide exiles with amnesty.

“To encourage exiles to return, the government must issue an amnesty statement first,” said former ABSDF chair Htun Aung Gyaw, according to a report in the Bangkok Post.

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