UN rights envoy visits Myanmar to probe protest crackdown

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Paulo Sergio Pinheiro [official profile] flew into Myanmar on Sunday to investigate the military government's crackdown on protesters [JURIST report] going on since September. Pinheiro's trip comes three weeks after the junta in Myanmar agreed [JURIST report] to allow the UN rights expert into the country. He has been blocked from visiting Myanmar since 2003. Pinheiro submitted a proposed itinerary to Myanmar's military junta, but it had not been approved Sunday night when he arrived. The UN representative has promised to leave the country if not given full cooperation.

The announcement of Pinheiro's trip came as UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari [official profile] continued his tour of Southeast Asia after visiting the country [JURIST report] earlier this month. Gambari plans to return to Myanmar in November in order to continue efforts to encourage the country's military junta to move towards democratization and reconciliation in the wake of the government crackdown against protesters which began in August. The crackdown started when Myanmar [JURIST news archive] security officers arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrating against rising fuel prices and human rights abuses by the military regime. Protests only subsided when junta troops effectively locked down Myanmar's major cities. At least 10 people were killed when government soldiers shot into protesting crowds [JURIST report] and the government has said that some 3,000 people were arrested for participating in the protests. AP has more.

 

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