US backs UN rights expert’s report on Myanmar


WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States gave its backing Tuesday to a UN expert’s report raising concerns about Myanmar’s recent referendum and called on the military rulers to release all political prisoners.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also called on the country’s military rulers to uphold their pledge to give international aid access to victims of last month’s ,,, which left 133,000 dead or missing.

“The US shares the conclusions of the UN human rights monitor in his sobering report that the referendum on the regime’s draft constitution was far from credible,” McCormack said in a statement.

Washington also agrees that the continuing detention of political prisoners, including democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and the condition under which they are held is “appalling,” he said.

“The United States continues to urge the Burmese regime to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, and to begin a genuine dialogue with democratic and ethnic minority leaders on a transition to democracy,” he said.

McCormack added that Washington shares the conclusions that Myanmar “must respect the human rights principles of non-discrimination and accountability in the international effort to assist the victims of Cyclone Nargis.”

The US government remains committed to helping cyclone victims and calls on Myanmar’s regime “to uphold its pledge to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to allow international humanitarian workers and supplies unhindered access to cyclone-affected areas,” he said.

“We are concerned that forced relocation of storm victims, absent adequate access to assistance, will put them at even greater risk.”

In a report last week, the UN special rapporteur for Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, raised “significant concerns” over the referendum held in the wake of the devastating cyclone, and called for a public report on the event.

Myanmar’s military rulers had claimed that despite the cyclone devastation, 98 percent of voters turned out and more than 92 percent endorsed their charter.

They also claimed that the constitution would clear the way for democratic elections in two years, but critics believe it would only enshrine military rule.


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