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UN Human Rights Rapporteur Calls for Release of all Political Prisoners - 2002-10-28


A United Nations human rights envoy has urged Burma's military government to release all political prisoners. UN envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro made the call Monday at the end of a 12-day visit to Burma.

Mr. Pinheiro also asked the Burmese government to consider allowing the Red Cross into all areas affected by the decades-long conflict with rebels. He said the Red Cross could make what he called a confidential report to authorities and work out measures to ensure the security of civilians there.

Earlier Monday, Mr. Pinheiro met with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon. Details of the meeting were not given.

In addition to holding talks with Aung San Suu Kyi, he met with top government officials and visited inmates at two prisons known to hold political prisoners.

The envoy's mission was to investigate alleged human rights abuses by the government, including forced labor, rape, torture and mistreatment of ethnic minorities and political prisoners.

Mr. Pinheiro is expected to report his findings to the UN General Assembly next month. He has visited Burma four times.

Information for this report is provided by VOA correspondent Scott Bobb.

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