U.N. gives mixed rights report for Myanmar

Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Giving neutral humanitarian agencies' access to conflict-torn parts of Myanmar will help address ongoing concerns about the region, a U.N. envoy said.

U.S. President Barack Obama this week became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, a country known also as Burma. Myanmar has earned the praise of the international community for political reforms that began with general elections in 2010.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, U.N. special envoy on human rights in Myanmar, said he welcomed the government's commitment to let Red Cross delegates meet with prisoners in western Rakhine state.

Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were displaced by communal violence in Rakhine, prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.

"Full access to places of detention by international and national monitoring groups will help to address ongoing concerns about the condition and treatment of prisoners and detainees, including in Rakhine state where many hundreds of people have been detained since June this year," Quintana said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch said commercial satellite images taken of parts of Rakhine show entire villages burned to the ground. The organization said the government was restricting access to the area.

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