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• Thailand and Myanmar:
A Tale of Two Charters


August 5, 2008

UN envoy meets Myanmar anti-govt monks
The UN’s new human rights envoy for Myanmar met with senior Buddhist monks on Monday, nearly one year after a mass anti-government protests during which at least 31 people were killed and 74 remained missing after the crackdown, said AFP.

United Nations special rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana, during his first visit to the military-ruled nation after taking up his post in May, met with the monks as well as other religious leaders in Yangon, a Myanmar official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Buddhist monks led mass anti-government protests in September that were violently put down by security forces who opened fire on crowds and beat people in the streets.
The official did not say whether Quintana met monks who were personally involved in the protests.

Quintana’s predecessor, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in November that.

He also said that about 1,850 political prisoners were behind bars, and that the government had “accelerated” unlawful arrests.

Later Monday, Quintana was set to meet with the panel coordinating the relief effort for 2.4 million victims of Cyclone Nargis, which pounded Myanmar three months ago.

The so-called Tripartite Core Group includes representatives of Myanmar’s government, the United Nations, and other Southeast Asian countries. The panel was created to address concerns that the junta was stonewalling the relief effort.

Quintana plans Tuesday to visit the hardest-hit regions of the Irrawaddy Delta, which suffered most of the damage from the storm that left more than 138,000 dead or missing, the Myanmar official said.

Before his trip ends on Thursday, he also aims to meet state officials, ethnic groups and political parties, and try to open talks with the generals on improving their human rights record.

Human rights groups, foreign governments and the United Nations accuse the junta of a string of abuses, including suppressing the democracy movement, persecuting ethnic minorities and imprisoning dissidents.

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