Thursday, October 25, 2007

UN rights expert to probe allegations of abuses during crackdown

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

24 October 2007 – The United Nations independent human rights expert on Myanmar said today he would use his upcoming official visit to the troubled country 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.

Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, told the General Assembly’s third committee (social, humanitarian and cultural issues) that although he has not been allowed into the country since 2003, he has received extremely worrying reports about the Government’s response to the protests, which began in mid-August after a sudden surge in fuel prices.

“I have been able to verify, through different independent and reliable sources, allegations of the use of excessive force by the security forces, including live ammunitions, rubber bullets, tear gas, bamboo and wood sticks, rubber batons and catapults (slingshots),” he said. “This largely explains the killings and the severe injuries reported.”


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