DNC demands release of political prisoners


New Delhi, August 15, 2009: Druk National Congress (DNC) has asked the government to withdraw cases and sentences against all Bhutanese prisoners who are facing or have been convicted of political offences, offences of political nature and charges made with a view to punish them for political offences, and release them immediately.
In a memo sent to Prime Minister Jigmi Y. Thinley, the party also urged to speed up the establishment of an independent judiciary and the requisite infrastructure to freely enable the public to seek immediate redressal of their grievances and disputes.
It has also demanded to allow registration of all political parties that are interested to participate in Bhutan’s political process.
The memo signed by party president Rongthong reads, “We placed great hope and expectation on the new administration under your leadership to take special duty in initiating efforts towards a resolution of all outstanding political and other issues. Yet, despite repeated calls for due attention to be given, there is complete silence on various pending issues. We express our disappointment at this indifference.”
The party reminded that it would be a tragic assumption on your part to conclude that the sort of “democracy” instituted within Bhutan has or will automatically solve all outstanding political issues by itself, or that maintaining a quiet status quo on the fundamentals of past policies under the veil of democracy will be the solution to Bhutan’s problems.
The last few decades of experience has proved the contrary, and has shown that the only way out for us is to move judiciously forward in the true spirit of democracy, the memo reads.
The party has also reminded that the democracy is still only symbolic because of the absence of appropriate institutions, processes and practices that should be in harmony with a participative, vibrant and meaningful democracy.
“Due to the continuity of policies and restrictions of the pre-2008 era in Bhutan, political prisoners continue to languish in Bhutanese jails and democratic political parties are still forced remain in exile and out of the political process, and ironically all of them have been instrumental in initiating and precipitating the current democratic changes in Bhutan,” Rongthong said.