Myanmar to allow UN rights visit

UN human rights investigator, barred since 2003, can now enter the country.

    Myanmar wants Pinheiro to visit before
    the Asean summit on November 17 [EPA]

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    It asked Myanmar's military government to exercise restraint and seek a political solution to the street protests sparked by price rises.
     
    Pinheiro was appointed as the UN's independent expert on human rights in Myanmar seven years ago.
     
    Condemnation
     
    The UN Human Rights Council at an emergency session in Geneva early this month condemned the crackdown on protesters, calling for an immediate investigation.
     
    Doru-Romulus Costea, who chairs the council, appealed at the session for an urgent visit by Pinheiro saying he would be able to travel "at any time should the government of Myanmar give its approval".
     
    The council passed a resolution - the first to criticise a government other than Israel - deploring "continued violent repression of peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar, including through beatings, killings, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances".
     
    The Myanmar government violently reacted to public protests that were initially sparked by a sharp hike in fuel prices in August, which later turned into anti-government rallies led by Buddhist monks - the biggest in nearly 20 years.
     
    Gambari's return
     
    However, Ibrahim Gambari, Ban's special envoy to Myanmar, is unlikely to return before mid-November as planned because Myanmar has not given him a visa for an earlier visit.
     
    Gambari is currently in India as part of a six-nation tour of Asia aimed at increasing the pressure on Myanmar's generals.
     
    On Monday, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to the UN, said Gambari was needed in Myanmar to facilitate the necessary negotiations between the government and the opposition led by detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
     
    "We are calling on all those with influence to redouble their efforts to get Mr Gambari there as quickly as possible."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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