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UN EXPERTS EXPRESS DEEP CONCERN OVER ON-GOING CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN MYANMAR

25 April 2007, Geneva: - - The following statement was issued today by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Hina Jilani:

We express our deep concern over the brutal attack against human rights defenders on 18 April 2007 at Oakpon village in Hinthada Township. The reports we have received so far have highlighted the level of violence and the absence of intervention by the local police to protect the victims and remind us of the circumstances surrounding the tragic incident of Depayin in 2003.

We call on the Government of Myanmar to take all the necessary steps to protect human rights defenders and to guarantee the peaceful exercise of fundamental freedoms by the people of Myanmar.

We also call on the relevant authorities to conduct an independent and thorough investigation into this event.