Ban Ki-moon urges redoubling of efforts to resolve Myanmar crisis

Ban Ki-moon urges redoubling of efforts to resolve Myanmar crisis

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged the Myanmar authorities and all relevant parties to redouble their efforts towards achieving national reconciliation, democracy and full respect for human rights.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that the return to the status quo that existed before the crisis is not sustainable,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued after Mr. Ban, who is travelling in Brasilia, was briefed by telephone by his Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, who just returned to New York following a week-long mission to Myanmar, his second since the Government began its crackdown against demonstrators a few months ago.

“As a result of this visit, a process has been launched that will hopefully lead to a meaningful and substantive dialogue with concrete outcomes within an agreed timeframe,” the spokesperson added.

Welcoming the willingness expressed by both sides to work with the UN, the Secretary-General looks forward to Mr. Gambari’s early return to Myanmar, “as part of an open and regular process of mutual engagement,” she said.

Mr. Gambari also briefed the President of the General Assembly on his visit and developments since the two last met on 5 October.

According to a statement issued by the President’s spokesperson, Srgjan Kerim was “encouraged by the fact that the Special Adviser was able to visit the country and meet with key representatives of the relevant parties.”

Mr. Kerim welcomed the inauguration of a process that may lead to substantive and unconditional dialogue among the main parties, and stressed that this process must achieve concrete results and a clear commitment on the part of the Government to work constructively with the Special Adviser, the statement added.

The mandate of Mr. Gambari’s mission originates from the Assembly, which requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide his good offices and to pursue his discussions on the situation of human rights and the restoration of democracy with the Government and the people of Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the independent UN human rights expert probing recent events in Myanmar has begun an official visit to the country, meeting with senior government officials, security forces and Buddhist monks.

Special Rapporteur Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro has said he intends to use the 11 to 15 November visit to verify allegations of abuses during the recent Government crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, determine the numbers and whereabouts of those detained or killed, and collect testimony about what happened.

Mr. Pinheiro, who had not been allowed into the country since 2003, added that the invitation by the Government to visit the troubled South-east Asian nation “sends a positive indication of the desire of the authorities to cooperate with his mandate and the Human Rights Council.”

Following his arrival in Yangon yesterday, the Special Rapporteur, who works in an unpaid, individual capacity, was invited by the authorities to visit the Kya Khat Waing Monastery in Bago where he held talks with the Head Abbot of the Monastery, according to the UN Information Centre in Yangon. Later, Mr. Pinheiro met with the Board of Trustees of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

This morning he met with senior officials from, among others, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Law Enforcement, the Yangon Peace and Development Council and the Yangon General Hospital.

Later in the day, he met with the senior abbots of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (the State Governing Body of the Buddhist Clergy). Mr. Pinheiro also visited two monasteries involved in the recent demonstrations.

In addition, the Special Rapporteur visited the former Government Technical College, where he met with the personnel in charge of the detainees held there during the days of the demonstrations, as well as with security forces from the No. 7 Police Battalion Control Command Headquarters in Kyauktan, Thanlyin, where some people had been held.

Mr. Pinheiro, who also visited the Insein Jail, expects to interview detainees before the end of his mission and receive further details on their records.

He is expected to travel to Myanmar’s new capital, Nay Pyi Taw, tomorrow.