Mr. Gambari and Japan appeals Burma to initiate Dialogue with opposition

According to the UN News Service reports released today, The United Nations Special Envoy for Burma – Mr. Ibrahim Gambari and Senior Japanese officials has appealed to the Burma’s ruling military junta to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the opposition party to resolve the ongoing crisis there. Ibrahim Gambari told media persons in Tokyo, that, “The Government and the opposition must sit down together and discuss the future of their country.”    

While in Tokyo, Mr. Gambari held meetings with the Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura, Vice-Foreign Minister Osamu Uno, and Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka to solve the deadlock on Burma. As per the UN News, Mr. Gambari and the Japanese government appealed the Burma Government to utilize the available opportunity generated by the recent crisis to start a meaningful dialogue with the opposition without delay and pursue an inclusive process of national reconciliation.. 

They also discussed Japan’s readiness to contribute to international efforts to assist Burma in meeting the humanitarian and socio-economic needs of its people as the country takes concrete steps to accelerate its transition to democracy. It is important to note that recently on 16th of October Japan suspended its $ 4.7 million aid planned for a business education centre at the Rangoon University campus after the gruesome killing of AFP Japanese photographer – Mr. Kenji Nagai on 27th of September 2007. 

Before arriving in Japan, Mr. Gambari earlier met with leaders in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and China. As per the earlier news, he is expected to return to Burma in the first week of November. Which would be his second visit to the country since the military junta began using brutal force to respond to peaceful reverend monks protests in August-September.   

UN Secretary General’s Concern:    

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who dispatched Mr. Gambari as his Special Envoy to consult with regional leaders on Burma, has also called on the Government to “seize the opportunity to take bold actions towards democratization and respect for human rights.” 

UN Secretary General further said while releasing human rights report that, “Unless the Government decides to open up and broaden the process that is to define Burma’s future, the demands for greater inclusiveness, participation and transparency in order to accelerate the transition to democracy and civilian rule are likely to continue.”  

The Secretary-General further adds that recent events constituted a “serious setback” for the country, as the Government’s repressive response to the demonstrations comes at a time when Burma is striving to move forward towards national reconciliation and the restoration of democracy.     

According to the UN News wire, the Secretary-General feels deeply concerned about reports of continued human rights violations, particularly the excessive use of force and arbitrary detentions in the wake of the demonstrations, and the large number of individuals arrested without due process.    

Right to Protests in Burma:   

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders – Hina Jilani also expressed her concerns about the ongoing situation in Burma, calling it “the most glaring illustration of the suppression of the freedom to protest.”    In the same news release of UN, She said yesterday that, “Exercise of the right to protest plays an important role both for the promotion and the protection of human rights.” She was speaking at the General Assembly committee dealing with social, humanitarian and cultural issues, known as the Third Committee. She further adds that, “Where States have enabled the realization of these right, values of democracy; pluralism and tolerance have gained support widely and successfully.”    

(The End)   

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