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Burma: Election Process Called “Deeply Flawed”

(Oct. 27, 2010) Tomás Ojea Quintana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar (Burma), stated on October 21, 2010, that he is disappointed with the plans for the country's upcoming elections, scheduled for November 7. The elections, which are for seats in the General Assembly, will be the first elections to be held there in 20 years. He called them “deeply flawed” and went on to say that “conditions for the general elections are limited under the current circumstances.” He urged that prisoners of conscience such as Aung San Suu Kyi, who has received the Nobel Peace Prize, be released. (UN Rights Expert Calls Myanmar Election Process 'Deeply Flawed,' UN NEWS CENTRE (Oct. 21, 2010),

Among the problems Quintana identified are the lack of freedom of expression and of assembly, the implementation of election laws, and the problems faced by non-government backed candidates due to party registration requirements and the cost of candidate registration. He stressed that the election process has not been inclusive. (Id.)

Quintana has served in the capacity of Special Rapporteur since May 2008, visiting Burma three times and meeting both with officials and prisoners of conscience. His most recent request to visit, in August 2010, was turned down by the government. (Id.; see also Wendy Zeldin, Myanmar: New Political Parties Registration Law and Other Election Laws Adopted, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (May 14, 2010),