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UN rights expert to investigate abuses allegations during Myanmar trip

[JURIST] UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Paulo Sergio Pinheiro [official profile] said Wednesday that he will investigate alleged human rights abuses [press release] during his November visit to Myanmar. The visit [JURIST report] will be the first time Pinheiro has been granted entrance to the country by Myanmar's military government since 2003, but Pinheiro said that he has received reports that detainees had been tortured, abused or denied food and medical attention during the recent crackdown on anti-government protest. Pinheiro said he expects to collect testimony and verify statistics on the number of people detained or killed by the government during the protests. Pinheiro has also called for the release of pro-democracy leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], currently under house arrest. Suu Kyi was allowed to leave her home Thursday for a brief meeting with a government official [AP report] who is coordinating Suu Kyi's contact with the military government and outside organizations, including the United Nations.

In August, the government arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks who led the demonstrations, and detained an estimated 3,000 protesters [JURIST report]. According to the government, 10 people were killed by government soldiers who fired shots into nonviolent crowds [JURIST report], while dissident groups claim that 200 people have been killed since the crackdown began. Protests only subsided when junta troops effectively locked down Myanmar's major cities. Last week, the junta lifted the curfew and ban on assembly [JURIST report] that was imposed during the protests. UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari [official profile] is also scheduled to make a second visit to the country next month to continue efforts to encourage the country's military junta to move towards democratization and reconciliation. The UN News Centre has more.

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