The U.N. human rights office is praising the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from prison in Myanmar, but says a “very dire situation” remains for freedom of expression in the Asian country.

Rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani hailed “good news” but insisted that the two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists “should never have been convicted in the first place.”

The journalists were pardoned and released on Tuesday. They had been convicted of violating Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act over reporting on security forces’ abuses of Rohingya Muslims.

Reuters reporter Wa Lone holds his daughter with wife Pan Ei Mon after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporter Wa Lone holds his daughter with wife Pan Ei Mon after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)

Shamdasani cited a rights office report in September, after the convictions, that laid out “very constructive recommendations” to Myanmar’s government to improve freedom of expression.

She said there has been “no positive progress” in relation to those recommendations.

Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center right, and Kyaw Soe Oo hold their children after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center right, and Kyaw Soe Oo hold their children after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporter Wa Lone and his wife Pan Ei Mon hold their daughter after Wa Lone was freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporter Wa Lone and his wife Pan Ei Mon hold their daughter after Wa Lone was freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo, center, holds his daughter with his wife Chit Su Win after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo, center, holds his daughter with his wife Chit Su Win after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center, and Kyaw Soe Oo, second left, celebrate with their family members after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center, and Kyaw Soe Oo, second left, celebrate with their family members after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, left, holds his daughter next to wife Chit Su Win,  and Reuters journalist Wa Lone poses with wife Pan Ei Mon and daughter after being released from prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, left, holds his daughter next to wife Chit Su Win, and Reuters journalist Wa Lone poses with wife Pan Ei Mon and daughter after being released from prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center right, and Kyaw Soe Oo, center left, hold their children after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters reporters Wa Lone, center right, and Kyaw Soe Oo, center left, hold their children after being freed from prison, in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (Ann Wang/Pool Photo via AP)
Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw She Oo wave as they walk out from Insein Prison after being released in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)
Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw She Oo wave as they walk out from Insein Prison after being released in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

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