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Burma-Appalling HR Violations-UN

   UN report documents alleged Burmese human rights violations
   by Sheri Prasso
   UNITED NATIONS, Nov 6 (AFP) - A UN report on Burma released
Monday documented appalling violations of human rights, including
systematic rape of women, public dismemberment to intimidate the
population, and other tortures.
   But a reponse from the Rangoon government, included in the
report, said the allegations were unfounded and were manufactured
by "anti-government sources and terrorist groups, with the aim of
discrediting the government as well as the armed forces."
   The report, by special rapporteur Yozo Yokota, to the UN
secretary general for dissemination to all UN member states,
avoided drawing conclusions or condemning the reported
violations. The United Nations is still engaged in negotiations
with the Burmese government in order to improve the human rights 
situation in the country, which has been ruled by military decree
since 1988.
   The document noted "credible reports of instances of brutality
sometimes resulting in the killing of civilians by Myanmar
military forces," particularly in ethnic minority areas where
people were accused of being insurgents or collaborating with
   The ethnic Karen rebels are currently the only remaining
insurgency fighting against the Burmese government.
   Yokota's report gave examples of porters being beaten to death
for requesting a drink of water. In another case, a 56-year-old
man was reportedly killed on suspicion of passing information to
   "His ears were cut off, nails were driven through his hands
and legs and his tongue was cut out," it said. "The victim died
when nails were driven through the crown of his head."
   Others has their ears and noses cut off in front of others
because they were suspected of being rebel sympathizers, the
report said.
   It also documented the systematic abuse of women by government
   Violations include "the undressing of women in public ...
raping and gang-raping women individually or in groups," it said.
"The rape of women serving in forced labor camps or as porters is
said to be common.
   "Some of the allegations received indicate that soldiers view
rape as a right, and that sometimes it is encouraged by officers
 ... and that women are sometimes singled out for portering or
other forced labor in order to be raped," the UN report said.
   The Burmese government responded specifically to the
allegations, saying that all women are given compensation for
their labor and portering services, and that soldiers respect
women as having a symbiotic and equal relationship with men in
Burmese society.
   "How can anyone from this society commit such outrageous
crimes that were mentioned in the summary of allegations?" the
Rangoon reponse said, again calling such reports unfounded.
   "It can only be repeated that unless and until the alleged
victims bring their cases to the notice of the authorities
concerned, nothing can be done to redress what they claim to have
suffered," the government said.
   The report also noted the names of 15 members of parliament
who have been arrested and detained, and said an unknown number
of civilians have also been arrested on suspicion of insurgent
   The government responded that all those being detained had
broken laws regarding sedition or had otherwise plotted to
overthrow the government.