UN Burma Envoy Expected to Meet Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 6:15 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese government officials have confirmed that U.N. human rights investigator Tomas Quintana will meet senior officials in the capital next week after having been denied a visa for more than a year.

Reports Wednesday say Quintana will also be allowed to meet in Rangoon with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, something he was not permitted to do during his last visit in March 2010.

Quintana, who arrives in Burma Sunday for a five-day visit, discussed his plans on Tuesday with VOA's Burmese service but said then his travel plans were not complete.

Quintana angered Burmese authorities last year by calling for a United Nations commission of inquiry into suspected crimes against humanity. However a new government that took office at the end of March has taken cautious steps to confront its critics, including two recent meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi.

In his interview with VOA, Quintana said the purpose of his visit is to assess the human rights situation in the context of the new government. He said he hopes he will be permitted to talk to anyone in Burma who has an interest in meeting him.

Quintana noted he has been calling since 2008 for the Burmese government to release its political prisoners, who are estimated to number more than 2,100. He told VOA it is the “first and basic right” in any democracy for people to be able to express themselves freely.