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Amnesty Calls For Urgent Intervention By the UN

by Yeni, The Irrawaddy, September 26, 2007

UN, ASEAN, China, India and Japan urged to use their influence on millitary junta

London, UK -- As Burma's security forces launched their feared crackdown on protesting monks and other demonstrators on Wednesday, London-based Amnesty International called for urgent intervention by the UN.

"The United Nations Security Council must immediately send a mission to Myanmar [Burma]," said Irene Khan, Amnesty International's Secretary General.

"The UN Security Council mission should take urgent steps to resolve the human rights crisis in Myanmar [Burma] and avert the risk of violence and bloodshed. The mission should also discuss with the Myanmar [Burma] authorities how to resolve the long-standing human rights problems in the country including the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners."

Meanwhile, troops and riot police attacked a crowd of around 300 anti-government protesters, including monks, with batons and tear gas at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon on Wednesday.

The junta had banned all public gatherings of more than five people and imposed a nighttime curfew following eight days of anti-government marches led by monks in Rangoon and other areas of the country, including the largest in nearly two decades.

According to the Associated Press, riot police beating their shields with batons and shouting orders to disperse, chased the monks and their supporters while others tried to stubbornly hold their place near the eastern gate to the vast shrine complex. Some fell to the ground amid the chaos.

Soldiers with assault rifles had earlier blocked all four major entrances to Shwedagon Pagoda.

"Myanmar [Burma] is now witnessing mass demonstrations comparable in scale to those in 1988, when security forces broke up massive pro-democracy demonstrations with deadly violence killing thousands, said Irene Khan of Amnesty International.

"The high risk of a crackdown against the demonstrators makes it imperative for the international community to act urgently. The military government in Myanmar [Burma] must be told in no uncertain terms that there will be dire costs if they repeat the violent repression as in 1988.

"China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and as a government with political influence over Myanmar [Burma], has a critical role to play. So do Asean countries, Japan and India. They must use their influence to end the truly forgotten human rights emergency in Myanmar [Burma]," she added.


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