Secretary-General calls for tangible political progress in Myanmar

11 September 2008

Myanmar has not experienced the political progress as anticipated and its Government should take real measures towards setting up a more inclusive political process that promotes human rights, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

Mr. Ban told a press conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York that he shared the frustration “many feel with the situation in Myanmar, [where] we have not seen the political progress I had hoped for.

“We want to see the parties – in particular, the Government of Myanmar – take tangible steps towards establishing a credible and inclusive political process in the country, which of course must include progress on human rights,” he added.

UN Special Adviser Ibrahim Gambari, who has just completed a visit to Myanmar, his fourth over the past year, briefed the Security Council today on his findings and on the latest developments in the South-East Asian country.

Mr. Gambari later told journalists that “the tangible results of my last visit fell below our expectations,” but added that the UN “will not give up on working for national reconciliation, democracy and respect for human rights in Myanmar.”

He said he had informed the Government during his visit that it is now time to build on the cooperation with the UN that had emerged in response to the catastrophic impact of Cyclone Nargis, which claimed tens of thousands of lives in early May.

“It is imperative for the Government of Myanmar at this point to deliver substantive results in responsive to our key concerns and suggestions, particularly with regard to the release of political prisoners and the resumption of dialogue between the Government and [National League for Democracy leader] Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”

Ms. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for 12 of the past 18 years and her current period of detention started in 2003.

Mr. Gambari added: “The very much talked about fact that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did not meet me on this visit is disappointing to all of us as it means that I could not ascertain and report her own views, as I have always done in the past. I therefore look forward to continuing our discussions at the earliest opportunity.

“Aung San Suu Kyi’s health is also our concern, of course, and I have again asked the Government to ensure regular access to her doctor.”

In response to questions today, Mr. Ban said he would also convene an ambassador-level meeting of the Group of Friends on Myanmar tomorrow to discuss the latest developments with concerned UN Member States.

“I’ll try to continue to do whatever I can, in close coordination with Member States, particularly those countries which may have some influence on Myanmar.”

 

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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

UN envoy briefs General Assembly President on Myanmar visit

United Nations Special Advisor Ibrahim Gambari has briefed the President of the General Assembly on his recent visit to Myanmar, during which he held talks with a range of people on issues such as national reconciliation and how to help the South-East Asian nation tackle its socio-economic challenges.