Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 26, 2007

U.N. human rights expert granted permission to visit Burma after 4 years of refusals

The military junta in Burma will allow United Nations human rights expert Paolo Sergio Pinheiro to visit the country after four years of persistent requests, BBC News reported Monday.

Pinhiero said the invitation is “an important sign that the government wants to engage again in constructive dialogue with the UN and the Human Rights Council.”

The U.N. received a written invitation from Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win indicating that Pinheiro could arrive before mid-November. This is significant due to the fact that a summit of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to begin on November 17. ASEAN has been highly critical of the situation in Burma, and the BBC’s U.N. correspondent reports that cooperation with the U.N. “could take the sting out of further criticism.”

Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, says it is necessary to unearth the scale of the junta’s crackdown.

“We have to find out what has happened to these people who demonstrated,” Arbour said. “Where are they? How many – credibly – have been killed? How many are still detained [and] under what conditions?”

The U.N.’s special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is also hoping to return to the country soon.

For the full article, click here.

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