‘Myanmar Govt must be accountable’

‘Myanmar Govt must be accountable’

GENEVA – The top UN-human rights official yesterday told an emergency session of the world body that the government of Myanmar must be held to account for its ‘shocking response’ to peaceful opposition protests.

“The Myanmar authorities should no longer expect that their self-imposed isolation will shield them from accountability,” said Louise Arbour, UN high commissioner for human rights. Modern communications have given the world an unprecedented view of what has been happening on the streets of Yangon, Arbour told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council.”The peaceful protests that we have witnessed in recent weeks and the shocking response by the authorities are only the most recent manifestations of the repression of fundamental rights and freedoms that have taken place for almost 20 years in Myanmar,” she said.Even as the council convened, Ibrahim Gambari, the UN’s special envoy to Myanmar, met with the leader of the regime, Senior General Than Shwe, and other top generals in the junta’s remote new capital, Naypyitaw, diplomats said.Diplomats said Gambari then flew to Yangon to see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate who has come to symbolise the yearning for democracy in Myanmar and has been under house arrest for years.The EU spearheaded the move for the special session by the Geneva-based rights watchdog following discussion in the Security Council and the General Assembly in New York.In the Security Council even China, which has been reluctant to criticise Myanmar, joined the 14 other council nations in expressing concern at the violence, urging the country’s military rulers to exercise restraint and to allow Gambari into the country.Arbour opened the emergency session convened at the request of 18 European and other member states and 37 observers, including the United States, after demonstrations in which the government said 10 people were killed.Dissident groups said up to 200 people were slain.Dissidents say 6 000 people have been detained in the crackdown on opposition marches led by Buddhist monks.Since the crackdown, Arbour said, “a deafening silence resonates from the streets that the demonstrators have not voluntarily abandoned.”Nampa-APModern communications have given the world an unprecedented view of what has been happening on the streets of Yangon, Arbour told the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council.”The peaceful protests that we have witnessed in recent weeks and the shocking response by the authorities are only the most recent manifestations of the repression of fundamental rights and freedoms that have taken place for almost 20 years in Myanmar,” she said.Even as the council convened, Ibrahim Gambari, the UN’s special envoy to Myanmar, met with the leader of the regime, Senior General Than Shwe, and other top generals in the junta’s remote new capital, Naypyitaw, diplomats said.Diplomats said Gambari then flew to Yangon to see opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate who has come to symbolise the yearning for democracy in Myanmar and has been under house arrest for years.The EU spearheaded the move for the special session by the Geneva-based rights watchdog following discussion in the Security Council and the General Assembly in New York.In the Security Council even China, which has been reluctant to criticise Myanmar, joined the 14 other council nations in expressing concern at the violence, urging the country’s military rulers to exercise restraint and to allow Gambari into the country.Arbour opened the emergency session convened at the request of 18 European and other member states and 37 observers, including the United States, after demonstrations in which the government said 10 people were killed.Dissident groups said up to 200 people were slain.Dissidents say 6 000 people have been detained in the crackdown on opposition marches led by Buddhist monks.Since the crackdown, Arbour said, “a deafening silence resonates from the streets that the demonstrators have not voluntarily abandoned.”Nampa-AP

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