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Burma: UN Rights Expert Meets With Snr Ministers

Myanmar: UN rights expert meets with senior ministers

The independent United Nations human rights expert probing recent events in Myanmar continued his visit today holding meetings with a number of Government officials, as well as members of the diplomatic corps and the UN Country Team.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar, arrived in Yangon on Saturday on a mission to verify allegations of abuses during the recent Government crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, determine the numbers and whereabouts of those detained or killed, and collect testimony about what happened.

Today he met with Foreign Minister U Nyan Win and Information Minister Brig.-Gen. Kyaw Hsan in the new capital of Nay Pyi Taw. He also met with U Aung Kyi, Minister for Labour and Minister for Relations, who is the Government's liaison with detained pro-democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

While thanking the authorities for the wide range of meetings with Government officials, Mr. Pinheiro renewed his request to be given access to other non-government interlocutors, according to a statement issued by the UN.

Also in Nay Pyi Taw, the Special Rapporteur held meetings with the UN Country Team, led by Resident Coordinator Charles Petrie, as well as with over 20 members of the diplomatic corps in Myanmar, who travelled to the new capital.

The Special Rapporteur, who had not been allowed into the country since 2003, returns to Yangon tomorrow to wrap up his five-day visit.

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Mr. Pinheiro's trip follows that of the Secretary-General's Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari, who recently visited the troubled South-East Asian nation for the second time since Government forces began using force to respond to peaceful protesters in August.

Speaking to reporters yesterday in New York, where he briefed the 15-member Security Council on his mission, Mr. Gambari said that while the Government of Myanmar has taken several positive steps in recent weeks, it is still necessary to "push them further on making the process of dialogue lead to very substantive discussions, substantial negotiations in order to lead to the kind of positive change we want in that country."

"I think the burden is now on them to show that they are moving in the direction that is more positive than negative," he stated.


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