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'Ban's Myanmar visit a complete failure'

Source: PTI
July 07, 2009 00:19 IST
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Accusing the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon of "failing" to release the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners in Myanmar, a rights group has dubbed his recent trip a "complete failure."

In a statement, the United States Campaign for Burma -- a Washington-based advocacy group -- alleged that the recent two-day visit of the UN Secretary General to Myanmar was a "complete failure."

Ban not only failed to obtain the release of the world's only imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi or even a single political prisoner (out of the country's 2,100) in Myanmar, but also failed to even secure a meeting with her, the US campaign for Burma alleged.

"For over a decade, the UN Secretary-General has sent envoys to Myanmar seeking changes in the country, a policy used by China and Russia as an excuse to avoid action on Myanmar at the UN Security Council. Finally, the world can see how this process is fundamentally flawed -- without strong action by the UN Security Council, even the UN Secretary-General himself has failed," said Aung Din, executive director of the group.

During his Burma trip last week, Ban met the Senior General Than Shwe.

"The United Nations must not allow its credibility to be destroyed by a two-bit dictator like Than Shwe," Aung Din said.

"It is time for Ban Ki-Moon to ask the UN Security Council to pass a global arms embargo against Myanmar's military regime, while at the same time initiating an inquiry into crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Than Shwe's regime," he said.

Noting that the UN has used arms embargoes in numerous cases to press for change in particular countries, notably against apartheid-era South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, the US campaign for Burma said a recent report commissioned by five of the world's leading judges and jurists found widespread evidence suggesting that Burma's military regime has been carrying out crimes against humanity and war crimes against its own civilians.

Two weeks ago, nearly 60 members of the US House of Representatives wrote to US President Obama urging him to take action on crimes against humanity in Myanmar at the UN Security Council.

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