November 02, 2007

U.N. Official Ordered out of Myanmar

Charles Petrie, the top-ranking U.N. official in Myanmar (at least until special envoy Gambari arrives Saturday) was ordered out of the country by the ruling junta. Why? he wrote a letter criticizing the "deteriorating humanitarian situation" in
the country, thus "acting beyond his capacity" according to the junta.

[The letter] concluded with a reference to the mass protests that were brutally suppressed. “The concerns of the people have been clearly expressed through the recent peaceful demonstrations, and it is beholden on all to listen,” the statement said.

On Oct. 25, Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a protest note, saying the United Nations statement was “unprecedented” and “very negative” and complained that Myanmar officials were not notified in advance of its publication.

Meanwhile, protesters held prisoner by the government are slowly being freed. And the new protests in the center of the country north of Rangoon continue, and Mark Canning, Britain's ambassador to Burma, says both that these protests are unlikely to balloon into the huge ones seen in September, and that therefore brutal crackdowns are similarly unlikely.

- Philip Ryan, Web Editor

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