Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quintana meets Chief Justice in Naypyitaw

Thursday, 19 February 2009 00:07 Mizzima News

New Delhi (Mizzima) – United Nations human rights envoy, Tomas Ojea Quintana, who travelled to Naypyitaw, Burma's new capital, on Wednesday met several Junta officials including the Chief Justice.

An official at the Chief Justice's office said the meeting was on for about an hour from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. But, the official declined to give further details on the meeting.

According to the UN office in Rangoon, Quintana also met Burma's Attorney General, Minister for Labour, Aung Kyi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nyan Win, Minister for Home Affairs and the Chairman of the Civil Service Selection and Training Board, Kyaw Thu, who is also the Chairman of the Tripartite Core Group (TCG).

The UN envoy, during an earlier visit to Burma in August 2008, had advised the military regime to review domestic laws that limit the fundamental rights of the people and make changes in the judiciary so that it is fully independent.

However, Nyan Win, the spokesperson of National League for Democracy said the lack of rule of law in Burma, was the biggest hindrance to the establishment of any system.

"We believe that no system can be successful unless there is a rule of law. And only when there is an independent judiciary and proper rule of law in Burma, can any system be successful," Nyan Win, who is a lawyer by profession, told Mizzima.

Meanwhile, Tate Naing, the General Secretary of Thailand-based 'Association Assistance for Political Prisoners-Burma' (AAPPB), said between the two visits of Quintana to Burma, the ruling junta had committed a lot of human rights violations.

He said the junta had randomly sentenced political activists to long prison terms, and that no process of political reconciliation could take place until the release of the political prisoners.

"Min Ko Naing and his colleagues were sentenced to 65 years in prison. Then, Bo Min Yu was given up to 104 years unfair imprisonment last month," he said, adding that the junta was clearly demonstrating that they were not willing to listen to Quintana, who in his first visit, demanded the release of political prisoners.

"We will see the beginning of national reconciliation and development of democracy only when all these political prisoners are released," Tate Naing said.

Quintana on Tuesday also visited Karen state in eastern Burma, including its capital town of Pa-an. During his visit, he met with the Karen splinter groups Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army Peace Council led by Maj. Gen. Saw Htay Maung, Payakone Peace Group led by Padoh Aung San and 'Democratic Karen Buddhist Army' (DKBA) led by Tha Htoo Kyaw.

The UN envoy, however, did not meet members of the Karen National Union (KNU), an armed rebel group that has waged war for self-determination for 60 years. Both the KNU/KNLA Peace Council and DKBA have defected from the main KNU.

Padoh David Tharkapaw, KNU's Vice-Chairman, during an interview with Mizzima, said it was impossible for Quintana to get the true situation and complete information by meeting only these splinter groups and without meeting the KNU.

Similarly, NLD spokesperson Nyan Win also said Quintana's mission would be incomplete unless he meets all political parties and organizations during his visit.

He said the NLD so far had not received any notice for a meeting with Quintana, who according to the UN will wind-up his six-day visit on Thursday.

Sources said, Quintana had put forward a request to visit Kachin and Arakan States, but it is still unclear whether his requests have been granted or not.

According to sources, Quintana, on Thursday will hold a press conference at Mingaladon Airport, before leaving the military junta-ruled country.

(Additional reporting by Ko Wild)

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