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Myanmar constitution to be drafted solely by government-appointed panel

[JURIST] The military government of Myanmar [JURIST news archive] Monday rejected calls from the United Nations for the country's constitution-drafting process to be opened to outside groups, saying that the new constitution would be drafted solely by a 54-member constitution-drafting commission [JURIST report]. The constitution-drafting commission, announced in October, will be comprised of both civilian and military members, all of whom will be appointed by the military government. In September, a constitutional convention composed mainly of military-appointed delegates adopted guidelines for a new constitution [JURIST report]. Under the adopted principles, opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi [JURIST news archive] would be barred from holding an elected office.

Last week, the UN General Assembly Third Committee passed [JURIST report] a draft resolution [press release] condemning the recent crackdown against political dissidents in Myanmar, calling on the country's military government to release all political prisoners and to cooperate with UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari [official profile]. The crackdown started when Myanmar security officers arrested hundreds of Buddhist monks demonstrating against rising fuel prices and human rights abuses by the military regime. At least 10 people were killed when government soldiers shot into protesting crowds [JURIST report] and the government has said that some 3,000 people were arrested for participating in the protests. AP has more.

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