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28 September 2007

The United Nations human rights experts, whose name appear below, issued the following statement today:

“We are deeply concerned over the growing number of reported deaths and serious injuries suffered by protesters and bystanders in Yangon, Mandalay and other major cities in Myanmar in recent days. We strongly condemn the use of deadly force by the security forces and call upon the Government of Myanmar to desist from such brutal measures and to cooperate in the efforts launched by the international community designed to prevent the further deterioration of the human rights situation.
We welcome the support and solidarity of the international community for the peaceful aims of the protests. We are encouraged by the statements of deep concern issued by all of the key international actors. The regional grouping Asean has urged Myanmar to desist from the use of violence against demonstrators, neighbouring Governments have issued statements of concern, and the world community as a whole has responded with grave concern at the course of events.
We especially welcome the decision to hold a special session of the Human Rights Council on Myanmar. We call upon the members of the Council to show strong resolve in taking the steps necessary to restore respect for human rights in Myanmar

In particular we welcome the role played by countries in the region. We note that an end to the violence by the police and military is only a beginning to the steps that are urgently needed. The Government of Myanmar should immediately release those who have been detained, commence investigations into the killings that have occurred, take action against those responsible, take steps to alleviate the economic hardship of the great majority of the population, and introduce serious reforms. The starting point is a real dialogue with the opposition.”

The experts are:

Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders; Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar; and Leila Zerrougui, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on arbitrary detention.