Diplomats do at times have sound reasons for speaking in euphemisms. But sometimes diplospeak makes its practitioners look like dupes or deceivers. This is what has happened to the UN’s special envoy on Burma, Ibrahim Gambari. What makes Gambari’s claim of “progress” under the junta particularly far-fetched is that it comes just after the International Committee of the Red Cross took the unusual step of denouncing the junta’s human rights abuses. Jakob Kellenberger, president of the ICRC, went public at the end of last month, describing the junta’s “numerous acts of violence” against men, women, and children in Burma. If the Red Cross version of those horrors is insufficient to cast doubt on Gambari’s rosy picture about Burma, then a statement this week from Human Rights Watch surely should.

It condemned a constitutional convention staged by the junta as a transparent facade. Human Rights Watch described how the generals handpicked the 1,080 delegates for a rigged process that has been in the works for 14 years and how they engineered the outcome to ensure military control and exclusion of the Burmese people. Gambari should brief the UN Security Council on his recent trips to Asia. He needs to explain which positive steps military dictators are taking, because he is the only one who sees any. — The Boston Globe