Monday, November 12, 2007

UN Human Rights Expert Searches for Clues of Abuse in Burma

Source: Earth Times

United Nations Special Rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro on Monday launched an investigation into claims that the ruling junta beat up, killed and burned the bodies of Buddhist monks and their followers in a brutal crackdown last September.

On Sunday he visited pro-government Kya Khat Waing Buddhist Monastery in Bago, 80 kilometres north-east of Yangon, before returning to the city to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, which was the rallying point for the peaceful monk-led marches that rocked Yangon in September.

On Monday Pinheiro visited monasteries that were more closely involved in the so-called "saffron revolution."

First he visited Kabaraye, the seat of Myanmar's Sangha, or the Buddhist hierarchy similar to the Catholic Church's senior clergy. Pinheiro held talks with the 47-man Sangha, the outcome of which was not disclosed.

He proceeded to Ngwe-Kyar-Yan monastery, South Okkalapa township, where monks were allegedly beaten and taken away in army trucks on the morning of September 27. The abbot of that monastery was severely beaten and according to some accounts, has died of his injuries.

Pinheiro then visited the Nan Oo monastery, in Mingala Taungnyunt Township, where authorities claimed they found explosives on October 11, belonging to dissident monks.

The UN rapporteur also visited the Htein-Pin cemetery in Hlaing-Thar-Yar township, where witnesses said they saw mass cremations being carried out in secret on the night of September 27.

Pinheiro was scheduled to visit Yangon's Insein Jail Monday afternoon, and the Government Technical Institute, where hundreds of people were detained in the aftermath of the September crackdown.

For the full report, please click here.

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