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Myanmar invites Asian observers to monitor parliamentary elections

Rangoon, Wed, 21 Mar 2012 ANI

Rangoon, Mar 21 (ANI): Myanmar has agreed to allow observers from neighbouring countries to monitor the nation's April parliamentary election.


Myanmar has invited the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member, to send a five-member observer delegation, along with more than a dozen parliamentarians and media representatives, to witness the country's elections.


The elections would be held on April 1 to fill 48 parliamentary seats vacated over the past year.


The vote is being watched closely amid rising expectations that the US and Europe will begin easing key economic sanctions against the country as early as April if the elections are deemed free and fair, The Wall Street Journal reports.


Many analysts and officials interviewed said they wouldn't be able to trust the results if international monitors weren't present.


The Myanmar government's decision to allow observers has addressed a key concern of international critics and local dissident groups, even as they continue to accuse the government of human-rights violations and foot-dragging on other key reforms.


Human Rights Watch, in a recent report, said that Myanmar soldiers continue to commit human-rights violations in ethnic-minority areas of the country, including razing homes and attacking ethnic Kachin villages


Myanmar's government has repeatedly denied committing human-rights violations and says any abuses are caused by ethnic fighters, not the Myanmar military. (ANI)


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