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UN Envoy Denied Meeting with Burma's Suu Kyi

The United Nations' special envoy on human rights in Burma says he deeply regrets that Burma's military government denied him a meeting with opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is currently under house arrest. U.N. envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana told reporters Friday he was particularly disappointed to be denied a meeting because this year Burma is expected to hold its first national elections in 20 years.  He said no reason was given for the denial. Quintana met Friday with a number of government officials to discuss the elections and other issues.

Burma Sentences 4 Activists to Hard Labor as UN Human Rights Envoy Visits

The Burmese opposition says military authorities sentenced four activists to prison terms with hard labor on the same day that a U.N. human rights expert began a mission to Burma. Opposition members say a Burmese court sentenced the four women to two years in prison Monday as U.N.

Thai Government, UN, Civic Groups Look to Protect Burma Refugees

Civic and refugee activist groups hope talks with the Thai government will ensure the safety of Karen refugees from Burma who face deportation. Talks Wednesday between civic groups and Thailand's Human Rights Commission came after strong efforts by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, diplomats and rights groups prevented the deportation of 1,700 Karen. The Thai military last Friday tried to push the Karen back to Burma, which they fled last year to avoid fighting between Karen rebels and the Burmese military. Soe Aung, a Burmese activist, says now it is important for refu

Burmese Rebel Group Denies Responsibility for Tuesday Blasts

A prominent ethnic rebel group in Burma has rejected the government's accusation that its members are responsible for two bomb explosions in a central town Tuesday. The Karen National Union issued a statement Tuesday "categorically" denying any involvement in the blasts in the town of Kyaukkyi.  The group accuses Burma's military authorities of instigating violence in order to win the 2010 election.   Burma's state-run media reported Wednesday that authorities had arrested 11 people for allegedly planning terrorist attacks in the Rangoon area.  A report in The New Light of Myanmar

Burma Expected to Hand Down Verdict in Trial of Burmese-American Activist

Burmese authorities are expected to hand down the verdict in the trial of a Burmese-American rights activist Wednesday.   Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, was one of the organizers of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.  He fled Burma for neighboring Thailand following a military crackdown on activists. He later became a U.S.

Karen flee Burmese attacks

According to an Agence France Press report, as many as 2,000 Karen have fled into the jungles of Burma in the wake of Burmese army attacks on their villages. The Free Burma Rangers have stated they do not believe that a major attack is underway, but that three villagers were killed in the attacks.

UN Reports Rise in Opium Cultivation in Burma

United Nations officials say opium cultivation in Burma rose for the third straight year as ethnic rebel groups sell drugs to buy arms. The increase reverses past successes in cutting opium cultivation in Southeast Asia.   The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC - said Monday that opium poppy cultivation in Burma rose more than 10 percent in 2009 - the third successive year of growth.   The agency's latest report covering Thailand, Laos and Burma says the area poppies are cultivated on around 31,700 hectares.