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Top UN Human Rights Official Condemns Burma 'Shocking' Crackdown on Protesters


The top United Nations human rights official has condemned the Burmese military government for what she calls its "shocking" repression of peaceful opposition protests.

Louise Arbour says Burma must give a "full account" of the number of protesters killed and wounded by Burmese security forces who crushed the massive protests last week.

Arbour was speaking Tuesday in Geneva at a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council called by the European Union to discuss the situation in Burma.

The EU is urging Council members to "strongly condemn" the violent crackdown on Burmese protesters.

Earlier Tuesday, Burma's military ruler General Than Shwe met with U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari in the new capital, Naypyitaw, after days of delay.

Gambari then returned to Rangoon for his second meeting in a week with detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. No details of his talks were released.

Gambari was expected to try to persuade Burma's generals to stop their repression of protesters, release detainees and make progress toward democratic reforms.

After his talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, Gambari left Burma for Singapore. He travels later to New York to report on his mission to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The U.N.'s Arbour also urged Burma Tuesday to provide information on the whereabouts and condition of thousands of protesters who the U.N. says have been arrested. She expressed concern about the disappearance of Burmese monks who led the protests.

The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in Burma Shari Villarosa says her staff visited several monasteries and found some of them empty, while others were surrounded by Burmese troops.

Burma's leaders have said that 10 people died last week during the crackdown and they blamed the uprising on "political opportunists." Burmese dissident groups say up to 200 protesters were killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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