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UN Human Rights Envoy Arrives in Burma


U.N. human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana arrived in Burma late Saturday for a six day visit.

He hopes to meet with Burmese officials, leaders of the country's political parties and political prisoners and he will assess any changes in the status of human rights since his last visit in August.

His arrival came one day after a Burmese court punished two members of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party and another senior member had his sentence extended.

Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is reported to have urged the United Nations Saturday to take action against human rights abuses in the military-ruled country.

Opposition leaders said there have been no signs of progress since the visit of U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari earlier this month.

The Associated Press quoted NLD spokesman Nyan Win as saying "there are numerous human rights abuses" in Burma, "but human rights missions should be followed by action to address such violations."

The U.N. said Friday, Quintana will discuss with Burmese officials the implementation of four core human rights elements he has recommended should be completed before elections due in 2010.

Those elements are revising domestic laws to ensure they comply with international human rights standards, releasing political prisoners, training the military in human rights, and making the judiciary independent.

The envoy's visit is a follow-up to a trip he made to Burma last year.

Also Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told VOA the new U.S. administration wants to re-engage with East Asian countries so they can work together to improve economic and human rights conditions in Burma.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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