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UN Rights Expert Urges International Pressure on Burma


The United Nations human rights expert for Burma has urged the international community to keep up pressure on Burmese military rulers toward reform.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said after his recent trip to Burma that a good opportunity for a real transition in the country might be lost, if the world's pressure weakens. He said the international community must talk less and act more.

Pinheiro confirmed that Burmese authorities allowed him to meet privately with five prisoners, but declined to give details. He is next due to deliver a comprehensive report on his findings to the U.N. Human rights commission in December.

Earlier, U.N. envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, said his role in helping resolve Burma's political crisis needs to be bolstered.

Speaking with some Asian leaders, Gambari said that he needs to test Burma's willingness to live up to its pledge to work with the world body.

Gambari was originally scheduled to deliver a formal briefing on his efforts to resolve the crisis at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other Asian leaders this week. But that briefing was called off amid opposition from Burma, which is a member of ASEAN.

Gambari has visited Burma twice since the military government's violent September crackdown on pro democracy and anti-government protesters that killed at least 15 people.

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

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