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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Human Rights: Burma

Pic courtesty of Auntie Beeb

The International Herald Tribune tells us that Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the U.N.'s special envoy on human rights in Myanmar (Burma) has been invited to that country by the military junta for a discussion next week.

The junta, which seized power in 1988, refused to hand over power to Aung San Suu Kyi's National Democracy League when it won a landslide victory in 1990. Aung has spent 10 of the past 17 years under house arrest.

Things heated up again this year when Buddhist monks led protests against the junta, and the brutal military response caused worldwide reaction. Although the reaction so far has been limited to apparent fainting spells followed by enthusiastic application of fans and smelling salts, one can only hope that eventually governments everywhere will do the right thing (we're looking at you, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia), and let the junta know that its actions are beyond the pale.

According to The Independent, the scale of the protests have the military worried. Major General Hla Htay Win was "permitted to retire," as the junta euphemistically expresses it, for being "too lenient" with protestors in Rangoon. Given that this is the same general who ordered bloody predawn raids on monasteries resulting in the arrest, imprisonment, torture, and beating deaths of many monks, and firing into unarmed crowds of peaceful protestors, one wonders what General Than Shwe, the despotic monster of the dungheap that constitutes the military junta, had in mind.

According to rumours, that worthy (Than Shwe)
... was worried enough as the street protests grew, that he sent his family to safety in Dubai.

"The stories are that he is isolated and that his staff are afraid to give him bad news but we do believe that he is the one to give the orders to crack down, so he is not totally out of touch,'' said Shari Villarosa, the US charge d'affaires in Rangoon.
Meanwhile, Pinheiro, who has been barred from Burma since 2003, had this to say:
... he "welcomes" the invitation to visit Nov. 11-15.

The statement, issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, said Pinheiro noted that the invitation "sends a positive indication of the desire of the authorities to cooperate with his mandate" to investigate human rights in Myanmar.

After getting initial permission last month for the visit, Pinheiro said he would demand access to prisons and try to determine the number of people killed and detained by the military government in September's crackdown on peaceful protesters.

"If they don't give me full cooperation, I'll go to the plane, and I'll go out," Pinheiro said.
Mr. Pinheiro, could you lend one of your testicles to our Democratic party? They seem sadly lacking in that respect.

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At 9:57 PM, Blogger Bourgeois Nievete said...

Thanks for the idea that Mr. Pinheiro loan one of his testicle to our Democratic Party. I think he could get a few from the Republicans since they aren't using any of theirs on Burma either. Perhaps congress could use a bit more ova too? Any donors?
BTW the Dems are the only ones putting forth any legislation on Burma.
Please check out the Burma News Ladder.


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