Tin Oo is less well known that Suu Kyi who cofounded with Oo the pro-democracy party in Myanmar. There seems to be some movement towards freeing Suu Kyi but the movement is glacial in pace. Perhaps the UN envoy can speed things up. Both Oo and Kyi were under house arrest for years.
UN envoy to probe human rights in Myanmar
The Associated Press
YANGON, Myanmar - A top United Nations envoy was due to arrive in military-ruled Myanmar on Monday following the release from detention of the still-defiant deputy leader of Aung San Suu Kyi's pro-democracy party.
Envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana requested a meeting with the Nobel Prize winner Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest, and will evaluate progress on human rights in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Criticized by the international community for its human rights abuses, the regime on Saturday released 82-year-old Tin Oo, who helped found the National League for Democracy with Suu Kyi, after nearly seven years of prison and house arrest.
"I am not happy with my freedom. I am very sorry about my colleagues who are still serving time in prisons," Tin Oo told reporters Sunday while praying for their early release at Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda.
Human rights groups say the junta holds some 2,100 political prisoners.
Tin Oo, a one-time defense minister, said he would continue to work for democracy, serving as vice chairman of the league and coordinating political activities with Suu Kyi and the party's 20-member Central Executive Committee.
League spokesman Nyan Win said the party welcomed the U.N. envoy's visit since gross human rights violations were continuing. "His visit won't be able to totally address the human rights issue but the visit can certainly cover human rights abuses," Nyan Win said.
Quintana is expected to meet several key ministers and members of the opposition during his five-day visit. He is also to tour Yangon's notorious Insein prison and another prison in the northwestern state of Rakhine.
In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Tin Oo's release and said he hoped it would promote "substantive dialogue" between the league and the government. He also urged the lifting of restrictions on Suu Kyi "without further delay" and the release of other political prisoners.
Tin Oo said he was "very hopeful" Suu Kyi would also soon be released, noting in 1995 he was released from an earlier stint in prison not long before Suu Kyi herself was set free.
Tin Oo said he would ask authorities to allow him to visit Suu Kyi, and thanked the United Nations, European Union and others for pressing for his release from detention, during which the junta tried to isolate him as much as possible. His telephone line was cut but he was allowed a radio.
"Thanks to the sweetness of the democratic media, I never lost touch with the world," he said.
Suu Kyi herself has been detained for 14 of the past 20 years. Her house arrest was extended in August by an additional 18 months, which would prevent her from taking part in the first national elections in 20 years. The government says the vote will be held in 2010.
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