Thursday, February 25, 2010

UN human rights expert to vist Myanmar next week

UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana will visit Myanmar next week, hoping to meet pro democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as the military junta prepares to hold national polls this year.

The coalition for a free Burma protest outside the Cheung Kong Centre in Hong Kong on February 5, 2010. AFPThis will be Quintana's third trip to Myanmar. Previously, permission to meet Suu Kyi was denied to him.The Myanmar is slated to hold its first election in over two decades, this year.

"I hope that my request to the government to meet with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be granted this time.
"It would be important for me to meet with political party leaders in the context of this year's landmark elections," said Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, 64, has been under detention for most of the past two past decades.She is the leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD), which won the national elections in 1990.

Last year, Suu Kyi, was sentenced to 18 months of house detention for violating terms of her detention after an uninvited American swam ashore to her house where she was already being held.

The verdict will prevent her from contesting the elections scheduled in 2010.
The US and other Western nations have been imposing sanctions because of Myanmar's refusal to release Suu Kyi, and the military junta is accused of human rights violations in the country.

In the past, China and Russia have vetoed Security Council resolutions against Myanmar.
During his two-day visit to Myanmar in July, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon, made three demands on Myanmar leadership - to release 2,200 political prisoners, hold free and fair elections in 2010 and resume a dialogue between government and opposition.
On this trip, the special Rapporteur will also travel to Northern Rakhine state, home to thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group.

In his previous report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Ojea Quintana, recommends the repeal of a discriminatory legislation in Northern Rakhine State where many Muslims have been deprived of citizenship, movement and fundamental freedoms.
"Muslim communities compromise serious human rights violations," he said, previously.
A lawyer from Argentina and a human rights expert, Ojea Quintana, was appointed special Rapporteur in May 2008, and will report his findings to the Human Rights Council in March.