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Friday, March 26, 2010

UN rights resolution urges fair Myanmar elections
Sarah Paulsworth at 1:15 PM ET

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] on Friday adopted a resolution [A/HRC/13/L.15 materials] condemning Myanmar for rights violations [press release] and urging the ruling junta to conduct fair and free elections. The UNHRC also extended the mandate [UN News Centre report] for the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, for an additional year. Friday's resolution comes after several UN member states declared Thursday that Myanmar must release all political prisoners, including pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The statement was adopted during a meeting of the "Group of Friends of Myanmar," organized by UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon. During the meeting, developments in Myanmar, including the adoption of new election laws [JURIST report] that bar Suu Kyi from running in the upcoming election, were discussed. The "Group of Friends of Myanmar" include [AFP report] Australia, Britain, China, the European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.

Earlier this week, Myanmar's Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit to repeal the election laws [JURIST report] filed by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) [party website]. In February, Myanmar's Supreme Court dismissed Suu Kyi's latest appeal [JURIST report] to the 18-month extension of her house arrest. Suu Kyi appealed to the high court in November after a lower court found her guilty [JURIST reports] of violating the terms of her house arrest when she allowed an American to stay with her after he swam across a lake to her home. Suu Kyi, who has been in prison or under house arrest for 14 of the past 20 years, will be released in November [JURIST report], according to a government official, likely after the upcoming elections have taken place.

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