On 8 November 2015 Myanmar will hold widely anticipated general elections – the first since President Thein Sein and his quasi-civilian government came to power in 2011 after almost five decades of military rule. The government hopes they will signal to the international community that progress is being made. Yet for many in Myanmar’s vibrant civil society, the picture isn’t as rosy as it is often portrayed. Since the start of 2014, the authorities have increasingly stifled peaceful activism and dissent. Today scores of prisoners of conscience languish behind bars, while hundreds of others are facing charges – and prison – simply for the peaceful exercise of their rights.
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