News / Asia

UN Human Rights Rapporteur Meets Burma Activists in Thailand

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Burma has met with human rights groups and former political prisoners during a visit to Thailand. The information he gathered from the meetings is expected to be part of a report to the United Nations.

Tomas Quintana's four-day visit included trips to the Thai border town of Mae Sot, and the northern city of Chiang Mai, where he met with Burmese human rights groups.

Rights activists describe the United Nations special rapporteur's trip as a "fact-finding mission". United Nations sources said he left Thailand Monday evening.

Inside Burma

At Mae Sot, where thousands of Burmese refugees and exiles live, Quintana met with the Association Assistance for Political Prisoners in Burma.

"The reason why he visited the Thai-Burma border is to getting information about Burmese human rights violations," explained Bo Kyi, the association's joint secretary. "So therefore his visit to us we did discuss about torture, and inside Burma and then torture in prisons and then the judicial system in Burma, medication for political prisoners and prisoners - that is like what he discussed."

Bo Kyi says Quintana expressed frustration over Burma's rights situation. Human rights groups say Burma's military government holds more than 2,000 political prisoners, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.  

Not many details


Other groups VOA contacted were reluctant to divulge details of the talks they had with Quintana. He did not meet with the news media on the trip.

Debbie Stothardt, spokeswoman for the Alternative ASEAN Network, says Quintana was seeking first-hand knowledge of the situation facing Burmese refugees in Thailand.

"It's a very practical move for Mr. Quintana to go to the border and to also see for himself some of the long-term consequences of the Burmese regime's human rights abuses," Stothardt said. "At least going to the border he will see for himself what impacts of the regime's human rights abuses have been."

Quintana had sought to make his fourth trip to Burma, but activists say the Burmese government did not grant him a visa.

Retaliation?

Rights groups say that may be a consequence of Qintana's call for a commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity by Burma's government, known as the State Peace and Development Council or SPDC.

Stothardt says the refusal to grant a visa was a set-back.

"It's not a good sign that the SPDC has refused access to Burma especially at this time when the regime is supposedly organizing elections to improve the situation," she said.

The military says it will hold elections later this year, but no date has been announced. Rights groups say the election, the first in 20 years, and the country's new constitution will further entrench the military's influence.

Annual report

On Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Burma's government has been unresponsive in the U.N.'s efforts to discuss concerns over the election. He also said he is in the process of preparing an annual report to the General Assembly in which his views about Burma will be outlined.

Burma activists say Quintana is expected to submit a report on the government's rights violations later this year.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid