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UN Human Rights envoy in fact-finding mission

United Nation’s special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana met with exiled Burmese activist groups in Thailand last Saturday in a fact-finding mission.

Amongst the groups who met with Quintana on August 7th was the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPPB). The group’s secretary Tate Naing said facts regarding political prisoners in Burma were submitted to the rapporteur who was looking to pressure the military government on it’s human rights record.’

“[Quintana] had already made his point of view and intentions clear since March. This is a very accurate fact. There is no way that he will step back now,” said Tate Naing.

Quintana, in a report submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Council in March this year cited evidence that human rights violations by the Burmese junta should be considered a war crime and a crimes against humanity and suggested the formation of a commission to open investigations.

After the report, Quintana was banned from acquiring an entry visa to Burma.

Aung Myo Myint, director of Human Rights and Educational Institute of Burma (HREIB), who met with Quintana said the: “Use of child soldiers is one of the worst forms of human rights violation and is a war crime. We submitted the data we collected to [Quintana] and we also agree with his suggestions to form a commission to open special investigations. We offered to cooperate with him and share him information.”

The rights envoy also met with Burma Lawyers Council (BLC) and women’s right groups who gave him data on sexual abuses and human rights violations on women in the country.

According to those who met him, Quintana said that the commission, when it come into materialisation, will be investigating human rights violations, not only by the SPDC but also within or by any groups.

It was said that Quintana also collected information and facts on what kind of human rights violations would be likely during the upcoming elections.


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