UN human rights expert to visit Myanmar

13 February 2009

The independent United Nations expert on the situation of human rights in Myanmar will begin a six-day visit beginning tomorrow to assess developments in the South-East Asian nation since his previous mission last year.

Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana, who was appointed to his post in May 2008 by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, made his first visit to Myanmar last August.

In a report issued following that visit, Mr. Quintana proposed that four core human rights elements be implemented: the revision of domestic laws that limit fundamental rights, the progressive release of the estimated 2,000 prisoners of conscience still in detention, the reform and training of the military so that it conforms with human rights, and changes to the judiciary so that it is fully independent.

These four elements must be completed before national elections are held in 2010, he added.

The Special Rapporteur will discuss the implementation of these four elements with relevant officials during his 14-19 February mission.

He has requested to meet in private with a number of prisoners of conscience as well as leaders of political parties, and also intends to travel to Rakhine, Kayin and Kachin states.


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