UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



UN Special Envoy Arrives in Burma to Probe Alleged Rights Abuses

By VOA News
11 November 2007

A United Nations expert on human rights is in military-ruled Burma, on a five-day mission to determine how many people have been killed or detained in a crackdown on recent opposition protests.

On arrival Sunday in Rangoon, envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said he was happy to be in Burma for the first time in four years -- the last time military authorities allowed him to visit.

Pinheiro said he is determined to gain access to Burma's prisons, as part of a wide-ranging probe into allegations of government-sanctioned abuse.

The government said 10 people were killed and about three thousand arrested during recent protests. Diplomats and human rights groups have put both figures much higher.

Pinheiro was to travel 80 kilometers north of Rangoon to a monastary in the town of Bago today, before visiting the isolated new capital, Naypyidaw Monday.

He has said he will leave Burma immediately if he does not get full support from the military government.

The envoy has a history of difficult relations with Burma's ruling generals. In March of 2003, he abruptly left the country after finding a listening device in a room at a prison where he was interviewing political prisoners.

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest in Rangoon, says she is ready to cooperate with the military in a dialogue and welcomes United Nations mediation efforts.

Amnesty International has called on Burma's government to cooperate with Pinheiro and criticized what it called the government's "grave human rights violations."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list