UN human rights envoy arrives in Myanmar

YANGON: A UN human rights envoy arrived in Myanmar Monday for a five-day visit ahead of the country's elections, an official said.

Tomas Ojea Quintana arrived by commercial flight at Yangon airport and was taken to his hotel before meeting with UN staff, the official said on condition of anonymity.

"He arrived at about 9:00 am," (0230 GMT) he said.

Quintana is to examine Myanmar's progress on human rights ahead of national polls expected this year.

His visit comes days after the junta freed a key aide to detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, her elderly party deputy Tin Oo.

The Myanmar official said Quintana would meet with diplomats on Monday following the talks with UN staff, and would then be permitted to meet lawyers from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

NLD spokesman and one of Suu Kyi's lawyers, Nyan Win, said he and three other party lawyers had been summoned to meet the envoy.

"We four lawyers will meet with Mr Quintana this evening.... We do not know the reason. It's their proposal. I still do not know yet whether the envoy will meet with the NLD party," Nyan Win said.

Quintana will also meet with two judges on Monday, the official said, before flying to Sittwe in western Rakhine State, close to the country's border with Bangladesh.

He is expected to return to the country's economic hub Yangon on Thursday when the Argentine diplomat will visit the notorious Insein prison where dozens of political dissidents are held, and representatives of ethnic groups.

Some ethnic groups along Myanmar's eastern border continue to wage armed opposition to the government.

On Friday, the final day of his visit, Quintana will fly to the remote capital Naypyidaw to meet senior officials, although he is not expected to meet junta head Senior General Than Shwe.