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U.N. official in Myanmar

P. S. Suryanarayana

ASEAN to discuss situation


Official to report to Rights Council

Junta signals cooperation


SINGAPORE: Paolo Sergio Pinheiro, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Situation in Myanmar, arrived in Yangon on Sunday to form “an objective picture” of the crisis in that country.

On his first visit to the country since 2003, Mr. Pinheiro will report his findings to the Human Rights Council, which, during a special session at the time of the crisis, mandated him to make such an assessment. In particular, he will focus attention on the level of force the junta had used in its crackdown on peaceful protesters in September, the number of deaths and other casualties as also the issue of arrests and continued detentions.

By allowing Mr. Pinheiro’s visit to take place so soon after U.N. Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari’s second visit since the latest anti-junta protest, the military government has sought to signal cooperation with the larger international community to resolve the issues that sparked the crisis.

Following Mr. Gambari’s announcement on November 8 that Nobel Peace Laureate and democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi had agreed to “cooperate with the government” in the search for “national reconciliation,” anti-junta groups in exile have indicated that they would “support” this process from outside.

On another diplomatic front, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo will hold “informal consultations” with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on Monday on the Myanmar situation. Singapore chairs the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Myanmar. The Myanmar issue will also be discussed by the East Asia Summit, which includes India, in Singapore later this month.

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