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UN Envoy to Address Security Council on Burma

03 October 2007

The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet later this week to discuss the human rights situation in Burma.

U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari will address the council Friday with details about his meetings with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma's military ruler, General Than Shwe. The U.N. has not released any specifics about Gambari's meetings.

A day after Gambari left Burma, government troops patrolled the streets Wednesday of Rangoon warning residents on loudspeakers that people who took part in pro-democracy protests last week will be found and arrested.

Residents say Burmese security forces detained many people in pre-dawn raids on their homes near Rangoon's Shwedagon Pagoda, the country's holiest shrine.

A staff member of the United Nations Development Program was among those arrested early Wednesday. Her husband and brother-in-law also were detained.

Burmese troops violently suppressed peaceful anti-government protests in Rangoon last week. Dissidents say up to 200 protesters were killed and thousands more were detained. Burma's military says 10 people died.

Meanwhile in Brussels, EU ambassadors agreed to toughen sanctions against Burma in response to the crackdown.

Diplomats say the EU will expand visa bans on Burmese officials and further restrict trade with Burma. They say the additional sanctions will take effect after receiving final approval from EU foreign ministers, who meet in Luxembourg on October 15.

Australia's ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Hill, says Canberra also will impose financial sanctions against Burma's military rulers and their supporters, to increase pressure on them to accept democratic reforms.

In another development, Burmese authorities released a Burmese journalist working for a Japanese newspaper, the Tokyo Shimbun Wednesday in Rangoon, after detaining him for six days.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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