Burma's constitutional convention gets underway on Thursday, amid international criticism that major opposition groups will not be represented.
The United States and the European Union say without participation from the pro-democracy groups, Burma's constitutional convention will have no legitimacy. Both have called for the immediate release of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.
Burma's largest opposition party, the National League for Democracy, and a group representing one of Burma's biggest minorities are boycotting the meeting to protest the detention of some of their leaders.
A regional human rights group (the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma) is urging the international community to withdraw support for the convention. And the rights group Amnesty International has condemned the extension of N.L.D. vice chairman U Tin Oo's detention for another year. He has been under house arrest without charge for the last 20 months.