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UN envoy concerned about abuses as Myanmar continues crackdown

[JURIST] The UN special envoy to Myanmar noted what he characterized as continuing and disturbing reports of abuses being committed by security and non-uninformed elements at a meeting of the UN Security Council Friday as Myanmar officials continued the hunt for the ringleaders in recent anti-government protests. Ibrahim Gambari [UN profile] was reporting [press release] to the UN Security Council on the results of his recent expedition to meet with Myanmar's ruling military junta, saying that the government had agreed to talk with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website; JURIST news archive] under certain conditions which include that the UN abandon calls for international sanctions against the country. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also addressed [text; AP report] the Security Council Friday, expressing deep over rights violations in the Myanmar regime's violent reaction to pro-democracy demonstrations. AP has more.

Myanmar announced Friday that it had detained 500 Buddhist monks involved in last week's pro-democracy demonstrations, but that security forces were still looking for four monks thought to be the leaders. As part of an apparent effort to prove the government's high regard for Buddhist holy men, a government official Friday appealed to senior religious leaders in Yangon to turn the four monks over to authorities. Police arrested dozens of monks [JURIST report] last week in response to widespread anti-government protests, led by the monks and joined by thousands of other citizens, sparked by a sharp increase in fuel prices in August. The government tolerated the anti-government protesters for a month, but last week, the military government banned public gatherings [JURIST report] of more than five people and imposed a curfew. At least eight people were killed when police opened fire on protesters [JURIST report]. Rights groups insist that the death toll in the government crackdown has actually been much higher. AP has more.

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