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Myanmar rights envoy to tour Rakhine, Kachin

Feb. 11, 2014 at 10:28 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- U.N. special envoy to human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana said he's visiting the country to assess the grievances of ethnic minority groups.

Quintana is scheduled to arrive Friday for six-day tour of Myanmar. He plans to visit Rakhine and Kachin states, two regions gripped by ethnic conflict.

"In Rakhine state, I hope to be able to assess what steps the government has taken to improve the human rights situation there," he said in a statement Tuesday.

In Kachin, he said "important progress" has been made on ending hostilities, but he wanted to look at "how the underlying grievances of Myanmar's different ethnic groups will be listened to and addressed when the post-ceasefire talks start."

Myanmar received international praise when it ended decades of military rule with general elections in 2010. The country's human rights record and lingering conflicts with various armed groups, however, has overshadowed some of its political reforms.

Quintana said he'd issue a report on his findings to the U.N. Human Rights Council in March.

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