UN human rights envoys to observe Myanmar military stand
Nov 13: The United Nations (UN) human rights envoys for the first time in four years were allowed to enter Myanmar by the military junta to examine the present human rights standing. Led by Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN’s independent rights investigator for Myanmar is on a five-day visit to assess the human rights’ condition in the country.
Pinheiro has been barred from entering the country since 2003 but this time he expressed his happiness prior to his journey on Sunday. Reportedly he will visit some of the prisons and monasteries and would gauge the number of people killed and detained after the September military crackdown.
In the month of August, in one of the biggest anti-junta uprising after 1988, thousands of ordinary people took part in a non-violent protest led by Buddhist monks. They were protesting against the military junta over various issues including the rise of commodity prices, arrest and torture of political leaders and an overall settlement for a democracy.
In the report of Amnesty International, a non-government organisation working for overall promotion of human rights cited grave issues in the process of violently suppressed peace march. The report states that at least 700 people have been arrested and reportedly 9 people were killed including one Japanese journalist but that number doesn’t stand to accuracy keeping in mind the nature of violent crackdown.
The report also makes it a point that among those who are arrested include political party leaders especially from the main opposition party National League of Democracy (NLD) and it is believed that they may have undergone some kind of violent treatment.
Earlier in the month a Special Representative of United Nations had visited Myanmar after the junta allowed a mission. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) expressing concern had also urged the military authorities to release political prisoners as soon as possible. But that was ignored though later junta rule allowed pro-democratic political leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years of her imprisonment, to meet her party members.
Suu Kyi, the leader of National League of Democracy party for the first time in three years was allowed to meet her party colleagues.
The military crack down has later brought various sanctions imposed by United States and United Nations and under these circumstances a political dialogue between Suu Kyi and military junta was needed to avoid international criticism.
However, Gambari's visit, allowing Suu Kyi to have her voice along with giving permission to international observers are certainly some new changes in the history of Myanmar that can further take forward a dialogue between military rulers and pro-democratic leaders towards the democratisation process.
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