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Burmese Labor Activist Arrested as UN Envoy Visits Military Leaders


Police in Burma arrested a prominent labor rights activist today (Tuesday) just as a United Nations human rights envoy was in the country to investigate Burma's recent bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Sources told foreign media that Su Su Nway, who has been on the run since leading a protest against government fuel price hikes in August, was arrested while trying to post anti-government leaflets.

Her arrest comes as U.N. human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro was to meet with several Burmese Cabinet ministers in the remote capital of Naypyidaw. Pinheiro began a five-day visit to Burma on Sunday, his first trip to the country since 2003.

The U.N. special envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, is preparing to brief the U.N. Security Council on his recent trip to the country and efforts to act as a mediator between detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and military leaders.

Pinheiro is in Burma investigating just how many people died during the government's bloody crackdown in September.

According to Burmese officials, 10 people were killed and nearly three thousand detained, but diplomats and human rights groups argue that the true figures are much higher.

Meanwhile, Burma is pressing ahead with its first auction of gems and jade since its deadly crackdown, despite efforts for an international boycott of the country's jewel trade. The sale of jewels is a key source of revenue for the military government.

Human Rights Watch has called on countries (such as China, Thailand and the United States) to block the purchase of gems from Burma.

This Information has been Provided by AFP, AP and Bloomberg.

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