Human rights deteriorating in Myanmar: UN expert

A UN envoy said that the human rights situation is getting worse, with Aung San Suu Kyi kept in effective solitary confinement.
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Published on Feb 24, 2006 12:04 PM IST
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None | ByReuters, Bangkok

The human rights situation in military-run Myanmar is getting worse, with Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi kept in effective solitary confinement, a UN envoy said on Friday.

"Even though I'm not able to go there, I can see no improvement since November 2003," said United Nations special human rights rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who has been denied a visa to the former Burma for more than two years.

"On the contrary, if you see the situation of Aung San Suu Kyi," he told a Bangkok news conference, "she's in solitary confinement with a cook and a maid".

Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide election victory in 1990 ignored by the army, has been in jail or under house arrest since her convoy was attacked by pro-government demonstrators in May 2003.

She has spent more than 10 of the last 16 years in detention in the southeast Asian nation, which has been under military rule of one form or another since a 1962 coup.

Besides the restrictions imposed on the NLD, Pinheiro lamented the junta's decision to force aid and humanitarian groups to be shadowed by government officials.

"In Myanmar, there is no basic freedom," said Pinheiro, who is coming to the end of his six-year term as human rights envoy to Myanmar.

"The NLD has one office, but you have cameras all the time in front of the office. They cannot print anything," he said.

He also lamented decades-long prison sentences handed down recently on political leaders of ethnic minority rebel groups, which had signed ceasefire deals with since-purged Prime Minister Khin Nyunt.

"These are signs of the deteriorating humanitarian situation," he said.

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