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UN Report: Burma's Human Rights Worsened in 2003 - 2004-03-12


A United Nations expert says Burma's already troubled human rights situation worsened in 2003.

Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro says the military government should lift restrictions on freedoms and release all political prisoners. His statements came in a report to be submitted to the annual U-N Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva next week.

Mr. Pinheiro, the U.N. special rapporteur on Burma, says many of the problems he sees in that Southeast Asian country are the same as when he was appointed in 2000.

Mr. Pinheiro calls the arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi a setback, as well as the subsequent crackdown on her National League for Democracy party.

Separately Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution endorsing Mr. Pinheiro's recommendations. The resolution also calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and for E.U. economic sanctions against Burma.

Another U.N. expert, Malaysian diplomat Razali Ismail, recently visited Burma and held discussions with the government and with Aung San Suu Kyi. He later said both sides appear to be ready to renew their long-stalled dialogue for peace.

There are unconfirmed reports the two sides have been talking.

information for this report is provided by AFP.

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