Myanmar fails to make progress on democracy: UN rapporteur

March 14th, 2008 - 9:20 pm ICT by admin  

Geneva, March 14 (DPA) The military Junta in Myanmar had failed to make any real concessions to democracy, the UN special rapporteur said Friday suggesting efforts were more make-believe than real. Paulo Pinheiro told reporters in Geneva: “If you believe in gnomes, in trolls and in elves then you can believe in this process of democracy.”

The Myanmar authorities have moved to silence international criticism following September’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and announced a series of measures they claim will transform the country to a democracy.

“They don’t give any concessions. For Latin Americans, eastern and southern Europeans and Asian democracies we cannot give a certificate of democratic transition because this is not happening,” said Pinheiro.

He was speaking after presenting his final report on Myanmar to the Human Rights Council the previous day. He is due to hand the brief to a successor.

He said the Myanmar government had paid no heed to the UN Security Council or resolutions by the Human Rights Council.

He said he saw no evidence that anyone responsible for September’s killings or excessive use of force had been brought to book.

“I am afraid ‘accountability’ does not translate in the Myanmar language,” he said.

The referendum, scheduled for an undisclosed date in May, is at the forefront of the Junta’s democratization efforts but has already provoked protest at home.

Pinheiro said a referendum could not be democratic if it excluded political parties and opposition figures.

He praised China for the “positive role” it had played in the region in trying to find a solution.

Pinheiro had been accused of a lack of “objectivity” and “impartiality” by Myanmar after presenting his report to the Council Thursday.

Myanmar said the visit by the UN Secretary-General’s special adviser and meeting with the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi pointed to the regime’s commitment to democratic reform.

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