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NEWS UPDATES 31 July 2010

UN called to probe Myanmar

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Thirty-two U.S. senators urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to back the creation of a special UN commission to investigate possible crimes against humanity and war crimes in Myanmar, AFP reports.

'While your administration continues along a path of sanctions and pragmatic engagement with Burma, we believe that such a commission will help convince Burma's military regime that we are serious about our commitment to democracy, human rights, and the rule of law for the people of Burma,' they wrote.

The group, led by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Republican Senator Judd Gregg said a UN Commission of Inquiry for Myanmar was needed to look into 'a number of reports' that showed 'a consistent pattern' of rights abuses.

They cited 'the use of child soldiers, the destruction of villages and the displacement of ethnic minorities, the use of rape as a weapon of war, extrajudicial killings, forced relocation, and forced labour.'

The lawmakers noted that the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Quintana, had called for such a commission when he reported UN Human Rights Council in March after a visit to Myanmar a month earlier.

US officials refer to the country as Burma.

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