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UN Expert Says Immediate Aid Needed in Burma's Conflict Zones


A United Nations human rights expert has expressed concern over increased hostilities between government forces and ethnic Karen rebels in southeastern Burma.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro urged the country's military government to grant aid groups immediate access to civilians in the Karen state.

He said that as a result of the ongoing hostilities, locals are facing food shortages and are being forced to flee their homes. He said the number of refugees is rapidly growing.

The Special Rapporteur said humanitarian assistance should not be made hostage of politics, adding it must only be guided by the best interests of the affected communities.

Burma's military government, known as the State Peace and Development Council, stepped up a campaign against the Karen last year, soon after moving to a new administrative capital at Naypyidaw, 400 kilometers from Rangoon.

Rights groups say the military offensive has displaced about 27-thousand civilians.

Burma has been under the control of the military for the past 40 years. Despite promised moves toward democracy, little progress has been made in drafting a new constitution and holding elections.

Information for this report is provided un news service and burmese service.

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