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The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar urges the Myanmar authorities to immediately release peaceful protesters

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, issued the following statement on 24 August 2007:

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, calls on the authorities of Myanmar to immediately release the peaceful protestors who have been detained following a series of demonstrations against the drastic increase in the prices of fuel.

The Special Rapporteur has received reports that while over forty-five people have been arrested today, the number of arrests is estimated to more than one hundred since the 21 August 2007.

He would like to re-iterate the hopes placed in the Government's political road-map and state that no progress is possible as long as ordinary citizens can't freely express their views, peacefully and in public. The Government should recognize in this discontent that Myanmar's people are not only suffering the denial of their civil and political rights but are also feeling the severe impact on their economic, social and cultural rights. Rather than suppressing the peaceful expression of grievances the authorities of Myanmar should be engaged in public dialogue to find solutions.

The Special Rapporteur further echoes and fully supports the United Nations Secretary-General's press statement of yesterday, asking the authorities "to exercise maximum restraint in responding to demonstrations", and calling for a constructive dialogue towards national reconciliation.