Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Myanmar's junta has released 80 monks

Posted at 8:07pm on 03 Oct 2007

One of the freed monks says he and 79 brethren were returned to their Mingala Yama monastery in Yangon. The monk says they were held at a former government technical institute in northern Yangon's Insein district, and subjected to verbal - but not physical - abuse during interrogations.Hundreds were arrested in similar raids on at least 15 Yangon monasteries.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned Myanmar's crackdown on anti-government demonstrators. The council has adopted a resolution that deplores beatings, killings and arbitrary detentions during the recent unrest. It has also called for the junta to allow an investigator into Myanmar for the first time in four years.

UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Brazilian lawyer Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, said Myanmar should accept the standard terms for a visit by a UN human rights investigator. These include granting full access to prisons and detention centres, where he could interview detainees privately.

Myanmar has said 10 people died in its crackdown on the biggest democracy protests in 20 years, but Western governments believe the death toll is likely to be far higher. Some fear a repeat of 1988, when the army crushed a nationwide uprising and killed an estimated 3000 people.

Meanwhile, UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari is returning to New York after a four-day mission to Myanmar during which he met separately with junta chief Than Shwe and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. UN sources said Mr Gambari, a former Nigerian foreign minister, expects to return to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, in early November.

Myanmar was the world's largest rice exporter when it won independence from Britain in 1948. It is now one of the region's poorest countries and a major source of opium, the raw material of heroin, as well as amphetamines, smuggled logs and gems.

Copyright © 2007 Radio New Zealand

1 comments:

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