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Myanmar government failing to investigate rights abuse allegations: UN

[JURIST] Repeated allegations of widespread human rights abuses in Myanmar [JURIST news archive] continue to go uninvestigated by the military government and its inaction remains the primary obstacle to securing human rights in the country, according to a new UN report [UN press release] presented Friday. UN Special rapportuer for human rights in Myanmar [rapporteur reports archive] Paulo Sergio Pinheiro [UNHCHR profile] told the UN General Assembly's Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) [official website] that summary executions, torture, and recruitment of child soldiers must be addressed by the government immediately to protect victims and give them effective remedies. Pinheiro observed that recent increases in military operations have forced thousands of ethnics to flee their homes [Asia Times report], escalating into what could soon become a humanitarian crisis. The Myanmar government has blocked Pinheiro from visiting the country since 2003, but the UN official says he obtained report data from reliable sources.

The southeast Asian nation, formerly called Burma [CIA backgrounder], has been controlled by a military junta since 1988, when a democracy movement led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi [Nobel profile] was crushed. Suu Kyi has been under house arrest [JURIST report] since 1989. Since the junta took power, several attempts to draft a new constitution have broken down [JURIST report], although constitutional talks started again [JURIST report] earlier this month. AP has more.

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