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UN Myanmar rights expert ups estimate of death toll from protests crackdown to 31

[JURIST] UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro [official profile; JURIST news archive] has concluded that at least 31 people were killed in a crackdown on anti-government protesters this September, according to UN sources [UN News Service report] Friday. The total is significantly higher than the figure of 10 originally claimed by the government, later upped to 15. Pinheiro cites the figure in an as-yet-unreleased report [JURIST report] to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday. The Special Rapporteur, who had been barred from Myanmar [JURIST news archive] since 2003, was allowed to return there in the wake of the crackdown to report on the state of human rights there as the country's military junta tried to adopt a reconciliatory stance with the UN and critical Western states, including the US. Pinheiro also found that between 3,000 and 4,000 people were arrested in September and October, of whom anywhere from 500 to 1,000 are still being held. Some 1,150 political prisoners detained by the government prior to the protests have similarly not been released.

Pinheiro met with several prominent political prisoners during his November visit to Myanmar [JURIST report], but his request to see opposition leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was denied by the ruling junta. BBC News has more.

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