UN airs frustration with Myanmar

Military government blocks human rights investigator from meeting political prisoners.

    Pinheiro was allowed to visit prisons but not talk to inmates [AFP/Myanmar News Agency]
    The UN sent Pinheiro to investigate allegations of widespread abuse during the violent crackdown on pro-democracy protests in September which the government said killed 10 people.
     
    Diplomats and dissidents say the toll is probably much higher and Amnesty International has estimated that 700 people arrested are still in detention.
     
    Crackdown continues
     
    The government continued to crack down on suspected protesters even during Pinheiro's stay.
     
    In the latest sweep, the government detained at least three people who were handing out anti-government pamphlets on Wednesday at a marketplace in Yangon.
     

    Your Views

    "Until the generals' military hardware is crumbled, they won't listen to anyone"

    Oomlwin, Yangon, Myanmar

    Send us your views

    The leaflet included a statement from the UN and one saying that forcing people to participate in pro-government rallies violated international human rights conventions.
     
    Major-General Aye Myint, the deputy defence minister, said there had been some arrests, but suspects were only taken in for questioning.
     
    He said 49 people were being detained in Yangon and 42 in other cities, without specifying when the arrests were made.
     
    "After questioning, most of them are released," he said. "We will be taking actions according to the violation of the law and also the terrorism act.
     
    "Now the situation in Myanmar is in normalcy. We totally control all the situation," Aye Myint told a news conference in Singapore after attending a meeting of South-East Asian defence chiefs.
     
    He added that the generals would "not accept" outside interference they deemed harmful to their country's sovereignty.
     
    "But we are also looking forward to the positive and constructive assistance and understanding from Asean countries, and all other countries from the world, and also the United Nations," he said.
     
    The defence ministers' gathering was held ahead of the annual Association of South-East Asian Nations summit next week to be hosted by current chair, Singapore, and Myanmar is expected to be a dominant topic at the meeting.
     
    Ong Keng Yeong, Asean's secretary-general, rejected calls by human rights groups to prevent Myanmar from signing a landmark Asean charter, which will for the first time call for the establishment of a human rights body in the bloc.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.