11/13/2007, 00.00
MYANMAR – ONU
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Pinheiro waiting to meet generals as they keep arresting activists and monks

UN investigator is in Naypydaw to meet government ministers. In Yangon Su Su Nway, a well-known anti-forced labour activist, is arrested today. The arrest in early November of U Gambira, a leader in the peaceful September protests, is confirmed.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – The presence of Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the United Nations independent human rights investigator for Myanmar, has not stopped the crackdown against activists and Buddhist monks. Credible sources cited in the daily The Irrawaddy reported that three Burmese dissidents were arrested by police. Two monks who played a significant role in the September demonstrations were also arrested in early November.

The 88 Generation student group confirmed that  U Gambira, a leader of the Alliance of All Burma Buddhist Monks who played a key role in the anti-fuel price hike demonstrations, was arrested and is being held in Insein Prison with other political prisoners. He had been in hiding since the demonstrations were violently suppressed by the authorities. Members of his family were also arrested for maintaining contact with him. The second monk arrested with him was identified as U Kaythara

“We are hearing of a continuing crackdown and arrests rather than reconciliation. If the ruling junta wants national reconciliation it must end the crackdown and arrests,” said Soe Tun, a member of 88 Generation.

Su Su Nway and two companions are among the activists seized today as they pasted anti-regime posters in downtown Yangon. The 36-year-old anti-forced labour activist was first arrested in 2004 and had been in hiding since August.

In the meantime UN investigator Paulo Sergio Pinheiro continues his mission to inquire into the September demonstrations and the plight of detainees.

Today he travelled to Myanmar’s new and isolated capital of Naypydaw, hoping to meet government officials.

According to a Myanmar official,  who preferred to remain anonymous, the Brazilian diplomat is scheduled to meet the (government) Human Rights Commission at the Home Affairs Ministry.

He will then meet international NGOs and the ministers of religious affairs and economic development.

Tate Naing, from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, said arrests were still going on even as Pinheiro was trying to determine the fate of detainees.

Some prisoners have been released before his arrival but “just for show,” whilst “important detainees” remained locked up, he said, first of all Nobel Prize laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

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