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U.N. draft deplores rights violatio

Subject: U.N. draft deplores rights violations in Myanmar 

U.N. draft deplores rights violations in Myanmar
07:36 p.m Nov 19, 1998 Eastern
By Anthony Goodman

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 19 (Reuters) - A General Assembly committee on Thursday
approved without a vote a resolution deploring continuing human rights
violations in Myanmar.

It specifically referred to extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, rape,
torture, inhuman treatment, mass arrests, forced labour and other violations
listed in a recent report by a U.N. investigator.

Rajsoomer Lallah of Mauritius, a special rapporteur of the U.N. Human Rights
Commission, said last month that the situation in Myanmar, formerly Burma,
``has not evolved in any favourable way'' since an earlier report in April.

Lallah, who has been unable to visit Myanmar since his appointment more than
two years ago, cited reports that opposition parties continued to be subject
to constant monitoring by the military government and that torture and
ill-treatment were still a common practice in prisons and interrogation

He said he also still received reports of forced labour across the nation
and that serious human rights violations continued to be committed by the
armed forces in ethnic minority areas.

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly's social, humanitarian and
cultural (third) committee urged the government to permit unrestricted
communication and physical access to political leaders, including Aung San
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel peace prize and leader of the National
League for Democracy (NLD).

The NLD won Myanmar's last election in 1990 but was never allowed to take

The resolution, which now goes to the full Assembly for endorsement,
strongly urged the government to take all necessary steps toward the
restoration of democracy in accordance with the will of the people expressed
in the 1990 election.

It stressed the importance for the government to give particular attention
to improving prison conditions and to allowing international organisations
to communicate freely and confidentially with prisoners.

Myanmar's ambassador, Win Mra, dissociating his delegation from the
resolution, said it was ``highly selective and extremely partial.''

``All allegations are baseless and there is nothing concrete to substantiate
them,'' he added.

The resolution failed to reflect what he said was his government's
``positive efforts to improve the situation in the country'' and was
designed to ``further the cause of one political party and one individual in
particular'' -- a reference to Suu Kyi.

Mra said Suu Kyi, ``in her slanderous speeches against the government,''
called for sanctions against the country and the withholding of investment,
and urged foreign tourists not to visit Myanmar.

The government had laid down a systematic programme for a transition to a
new political system, taking into account the political, economic, social
and geopolitical conditions of the country, he said.