UN Burma Report Sees Opportunities, Calls For Action

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 12:30 am (UTC-5)
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The U.N. secretary general says this year's change of government in Burma has created opportunities for a more inclusive national discourse in the country, but adds that it is too early to say whether real change is occurring.

In a report to the United Nations General Assembly this week, Ban Ki-moon says last November's elections, while flawed, and disappointing to many participants, have allowed a resumption of legal political activity after almost five decades of military rule.

Mr. Ban welcomes promises of reform from Burma's President Thein Sein, but says the real test will be whether they are implemented in a timely manner. He also notes the release from prison of pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi and her ability now to engage in public activities. He warns that any restrictions on her movements would “cause serious concern.”

Mr. Ban says in his human rights report on Burma that the detention of political prisoners is “of deepest concern” to the United Nations and the international community. He says their continued imprisonment will undermine all efforts by the new government to win the confidence of other countries.

In conclusion, the secretary general says it is still to be seen whether the Burmese government has the capacity and will to deliver on its reform agenda. He says he is ready to explore with Burma and its international partners how the U.N. can help to bring about effective reform.