UN expert deeply regrets extension of house arrest of Myanmar activist

“On the eve of another phase of the National Convention, many of those who should be in attendance find themselves behind bars,” Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said.”That legitimate political stake-holders are locked out of the political process runs contrary to the Government’s commitment to institute democracy,” he added.He reiterated his appeal to the Government to release its 1,143 political prisoners, lift restrictions on freedom of expression and association and revoke all legislation which violates civil and political rights.In addition, he called for the re-opening of offices of political parties, and termination of harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of pro-democracy advocates, human rights defenders and all those involved in peaceful political activities.Yesterday, Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed deep disappointment at the extension of the confinement of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.Over the past several years Mr. Annan has been pushing the Government of the South Asian country to release her and allow a role for opposition parties such as the NLD.While there had been signs of progress in 2003 when the Myanmar authorities announced their seven-point road map towards democracy, basic goals have not been met since then, according to the most recent report by Mr. Annan. The National Convention charged with drawing up principles for a new constitution continues to exclude representatives of many political parties, including the NLD.Special Rapporteurs are unpaid experts serving in an independent personal capacity who receive their mandate from the Commission and report back to it. read more