Junta Allows UN Human Rights Envoy in Myanmar
An outspoken critic of the Burmese junta, the United Nations human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro arrived in military-ruled Myanmar on Sunday, his first visit in four years. He would investigate alleged abuses during September’s bloody crackdown on democracy protests, says Reuters.
“One aide said the Myanmar authorities, who responded to international outrage at their suppression of the monk-led protests by granting Pinheiro a rare visa, had shown ‘cooperative engagement’.
“He is due to report back to the U.N. Human Rights Council at its next session on December 10-14, but was expected to hold a news conference in Bangkok on November 16 immediately after his trip.” More here…
Meanwhile Amnesty International said Friday it had new evidence of ‘grave and ongoing’ human rights violations in Myanmar despite government claims that normality had returned to the country. Read on…
Another report says that efforts in recent years by the United Nations to achieve reconciliation between the ruling military and pro-democracy forces in Myanmar have been punctuated by frustration, false hopes and failure.
The Guardian says: “Detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi received rare front-page billing Saturday in Myanmar’s state-controlled press, which said the ruling military junta was ‘putting energy” into democratic reforms demanded by the international community.
“Suu Kyi, under house arrest, was allowed to meet leaders of her opposition party Friday for the first time in more than three years and told them she believes the generals intend to work toward democracy.
“It was the third time in a month that Suu Kyi’s image has appeared in state-controlled media, which refused for years to print her picture or even refer to her by name. Suu Kyi has been detained for 12 of the past 18 years, and continuously since May 2003.”
“Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the U.N.’s independent rights investigator for Myanmar, had been barred from visiting the country since November 2003. He has said he will abandon his current visit unless he gets full support from the junta.”
Photo above: UN envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro (Courtesy Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)