Opportunity for change in Myanmar, but challenges remain

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Tomas Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Tomás Ojea Quintana, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar. [UN Photo/Evan Schneider]

People in Myanmar see an opportunity for change after years of military rule, according to the UN special envoy on human rights in the country.

Presenting his final report to the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday, Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana acknowledged however that "serious human rights issues" remained.

The country is undergoing a process of democratic reform with the release of prisoners of conscience, greater media freedom and efforts to reach a cease-fire with various rebel groups.

Mr. Quintana spent six years monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

"Because in Myanmar what is going on now in this moment is a process towards a cease-fire, towards stopping the fighting particularly as you are saying in Kachin State. I believe there are some elements in the Government who had a good intention to reach an agreement with the ethnic groups. But the important question here is: what is the role of the military? Is the military committed to these kind of peace talks? That is a very important question that we need to look into. "

Quintana is the first UN special rapporteur allowed to visit Laiza, in Kachin State, a non-State controlled area, which is home to various ethnic minorities.

An encouraging sign that the Government is trying to build the trust of ethnic minorities, he noted.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’23”


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