Myanmar defiant as UN readies draft

Military rulers accuse Western powers and foreign media of instigating protests.

    The once familiar sight of monks on Myanmar's streets is now a rarity [AFP]

    UN draft


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    Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley undercover in Myanmar

    Ambassadors from the UN Security Council said on Thursday they had reached a broad agreement on key parts of a draft statement on Myanmar.

    The statement "strongly deplores the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators in Myanmar" and calls on Myanmar's military government and other parties "to work towards a de-escalation of the situation and a peaceful solution".

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    No sanctions were expected to be imposed by the UN and the text of the statement itself had been watered down following pressure from China and Russia.
    The two powers have blocked previous resolutions on the grounds that Myanmar's political unrest is an internal matter and not a threat to security in the region.
    Meanwhile, the US-based Human Rights Watch called on the Security Council to impose a mandatory arms embargo on Myanmar.
    "India, China, Russia and other nations are supplying Burma with weapons that the military uses to commit human rights abuses and to bolster its ability to remain in power," the rights group said in a statement.
    Raiding houses
    Reports from Myanmar's exiled opposition groups suggested the government's crackdown against anyone seen to be part of the uprising was continuing, with the army raiding houses and threatening relatives and neighbours for information on those who have gone into hiding.
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    "The security forces have become more severe in raiding houses of, and searching for, anyone whom they suspect to have been involved in the protests," the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said.
    The group, which is based in Thailand, said on Wednesday that Win Shwe, a National League for Democracy (NLD) member, had died during interrogation by the military.
    They said the authorities informed the family of his death early this week, and that his body had been cremated at the detention centre.
    Win Shwe and five colleagues were arrested on September 26, the first day of the crackdown.
    The NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990, but the military never allowed them to take power.
    Anti-government protests led by Buddhist monks flared in Myanmar last month, but the military crushed the demonstrations by shooting at the crowds.
    The military said 10 people were killed but dissident groups put the toll far higher, saying that up to 200 people were killed and 6,000 people detained.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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