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Myanmar: UN 'deeply disturbed' by hunger strike

Myanmar: UN 'deeply disturbed' by democracy leader's reported hunger strike

The United Nations human rights expert on Myanmar today voiced deep concern over reports that Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), is on hunger strike and called on the Myanmar government to release her immediately and unconditionally.

The Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the reports.

"Although restrictions on information make it impossible to confirm this news, the Special Rapporteur remains gravely concerned by the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi in an undisclosed location, as well as by the impact of her confinement on her safety and health," Mr. Pinheiro added in a statement.

"The Special Rapporteur reiterates his earlier appeals to the Government of Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi immediately and unconditionally, and underlines once again the Government's responsibility for her protection and safety," the statement continued. "He also repeats his calls for the release without delay of all other persons imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their views."

In July Secretary-General Kofi Annan met with Myanmar's Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Envoy, U Khin Maung, at UN Headquarters in New York and expressed his "grave concern" about the welfare of Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders, who had been held incommunicado since 30 May.

"I remain convinced that the only way to build durable peace in Myanmar is to release the detainees, ensure their political freedoms, and begin substantive dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi immediately," Mr. Annan said then.

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