Yangon: The United Nations Thursday condemned last week’s brutal assault on rights activists in military-run Myanmar, saying it was reminiscent of a 2003 attack on pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“We express our deep concern over the brutal attack against human rights defenders” on April 18, Paulo Serghio Pinheiro, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a statement.

According to Human Rights Watch, some 100 men carrying clubs and other homemade weapons beat rights activists Myint Naing and Maung Maung Lay last Wednesday in Hinthada, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Yangon.

Both men sustained head injuries and one remained in serious condition, the US-based rights group said.

UN’s Pinheiro said the latest attack “highlighted the level of violence” in Myanmar and reminded him of the attack by junta-backed militias on Aung San Suu Kyi and her traveling convoy in the country’s central region in May 2003.

Her latest period in detention began after the 2003 attack. The 61-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner has been under house arrest at her rambling lakeside home in Yangon for most of the last 17 years.

In November 2003, Pinheiro met with Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence but has since been denied entry to Myanmar, which has been ruled by the military since 1962.

The UN has estimated there are some 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar.