Friday, 18 June 2010
Myanmar floods and landslides triggered by incessant monsoon rains in Myanmar and Bangladesh have killed more than 100 people.
Floods and landslides triggered by incessant monsoon rains in Myanmar and Bangladesh have killed more than 100 people, officials and reports said Thursday.Skip to next paragraph
At least 46 people died Tuesday in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, according to the state-run Myanma Ahlin newspaper. Rescue workers are pulling residents out of the worst-affected areas and trying to open a key road damaged in the torrents. Bridges in the region have also been washed out.
State television reported Wednesday that 28 of the people were killed when houses built on mountains collapsed in landslides in Buthidaung, 360 miles (575 kilometers) northwest of Yangon, and 18 others died in Maundaw, south of Buthidaung.
Meanwhile, across the border, Bangladesh recovered three more bodies overnight in the southeastern Cox's Bazar district, raising the death toll from powerful landslides to 56, said local magistrate Mohammad Jasim Uddin. Rains in the area have now stopped, he said.
Flooding is common in both countries during the monsoon season that typically starts in late May. Cyclone Nargis struck both countries in May 2008, devastating large swaths of Myanmar where it left more than 140,000 people dead or missing.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, said in a statement that the country should “heed the call” of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which recently reiterated earlier calls for Ms. Suu Kyi’s release.
“The Working Group has found that the continuous deprivation of Aung San Suu Kyi’s liberty is arbitrary,” he said in the statement, issued in Geneva.
Ms. Suu Kyi, who will turn 65 on Saturday, is the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD). She has been under house arrest for much of the past two decades.
The Working Group has requested that the Government conforms to the norms and principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which forbids arbitrary arrest, closed-court hearings and the suppression of free speech and assembly.
In today’s statement, Mr. Quintana – who serves in an unpaid, independent capacity and reports to the UN Human Rights Council – called on the Government to release all other prisoners of conscience “to create the conditions for an inclusive election process and to demonstrate that it intends to take a more serious and sincere approach to its international obligations to uphold human rights.”
Myanmar is expected to hold polls in October, the first to be held in the country in two decades, as part of a Government-designed timetable towards greater democratization.
Earlier this year, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the elections to be “fair, transparent and credible” in which all citizens – including Ms. Suu Kyi – can take part freely.
The Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Myanmar, his Chef de Cabinet Vijay Nambiar, met last week with officials from India, Singapore and China to discuss the issue.