Burmese regime rejects UN criticism

Nov 1, 2007 (DVB), The Burmese government has complained to the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Rangoon about a statement issued by the UN country team in Burma.

The country team's statement was released on 24 October to mark United Nations Day.

A press release issued by the Burmese Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva yesterday said the Burmese government was "extremely disappointed" by the statement, which it said ignored the government's successes in concluding the National Convention, economic development and gains made in the areas of education, health and transportation.

"The Country Team should realize that there could be much better gains without the sanctions imposed upon Myanmar by some countries," the Burmese statement added.

The country team's statement called for urgent government action to address the "deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Burma, and said that the protests in the country in August and September stemmed from "the everyday struggle to meet basic needs".

The country team did acknowledge some government efforts to improve education, health and infrastructure, but said that the country was still failing to provide basic services.

The statement highlighted high levels of childhood malnutrition, less than 50 percent completion of primary education, high malaria and tuberculosis rates, and lack of treatment for people with HIV.

The country team reaffirmed its commitment to work with the Burmese government to address the root causes of discontent in the country.

"The concerns of the people have been clearly expressed through the recent peaceful demonstrations, and it is beholden on all to listen," their statement said.

The Burmese government statement questioned the country team's findings, complaining that the relevant government agencies had not been consulted, and said the statement could damage the country's reputation.

"The Statement harms Myanmar’s image despite its all-out cooperation with UN, and gives wrong message to the international community," the regime's statement concludes.

Reporting by DVB

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