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Myanmar police fired on prisoners during cyclone: UN rights report

[JURIST] The Myanmar military government should investigate allegations that police opened fire on panicked prisoners during last month's devastating cyclone, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana [official website] said Friday. In a report [PDF text] to the UN Human Rights Council [official website], Ojea Quintana alleged soldiers and riot police began shooting prisoners who became agitated after the cyclone tore the roof off the main prison hall. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP) [advocacy website] estimated that 36 prisoners were killed and 70 were injured [AAPP press release]. Reuters has more.

Nearly 130,000 people are dead or missing as a result of the cyclone, but the ruling junta refused to delay a constitutional referendum in the country, a move harshly criticized [JURIST reports] in the international community. Myanmar state media reported that the junta-backed draft constitution was overwhelmingly approved [JURIST report] by a vote of 92 percent, although observers expressed skepticism about the legitimacy of the vote.

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