Thursday, 26 July 2012

UN human rights expert asks to visit strife-torn Arakan State

The UN expert on human rights in Burma will visit the country for four days starting on Tuesday, at the invitation of the government.

quintana-speaks-to-media-2sSpecial Rapporteur Tomas Ojea Quintana will tour the country, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in a statement on Wedneday.

Quintana has requested to visit Arakan (Rakhine) State and Kachin State and will report his findings to the UN's Human Rights Council, OHCHR said.

However, it was unclear if Quintana would be given permission to visit Arakan State in western Burma where widespread sectarian violence has claimed up to 78 lives and where thousands of homes and businesses were burned in June. There are reports of continued unrest in the area, and human rights groups have called for an independent investigation by a credible group.

In a statement released by OHCHR, Quintana cited “ongoing human rights challenges, including ... recent violence in Rakhine state, as well as continuing armed conflict, particularly in Kachin State.”

Quintana will meet with government officials, politicians, the National Human Rights Commission and civil society groups in Naypyitaw and Rangoon, according to the Geneva-based agency.

He said that there has been “significant progress on reforms (in Myanmar), which I hope will culminate in the creation of a peaceful and vibrant democracy that respects human rights and upholds the rule of law”.

A press conference is planned at Rangoon International Airport at the end of his mission on August 4.

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Speech of General Aung San