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U.N. Rights Envoy Holds A Press Conference in Bangkok - 2003-03-26


News reports say that he stormed out of the Insein Jail in Rangoon after discovering a listening device in a room where he was conducting a confidential interview with Burmese political prisoners.

To a question whether he was prepared to forgive this untoward incident in Rangoon, Mr. Pinheiro said, “I’m not a priest to forgive, to give benediction. It’s not a human rights drama. It’s not in my powers to do that.”

The U.N. rights envoy also said he has nothing to say about the Burmese military government’s press release on the incident. He said, “I’m not responsible for the press communique that the government does. They can say what they want. This is their communique. Therefore, I don’t have to elaborate on that.”

Mr. Pinheiro expressed his frustration over the stalled process of prisoner release and lack of progress in a meaningful dialogue towards national reconciliation in Burma: “Yes, I’m very frustrated with the process of releasing the political prisoners. I’m very disappointed about the situation of the substantive dialogue between SPDC (State Peace and Development Council – the military government) and the NLD (National League for Democracy).”

As to the prospects of returning to Burma to finish his work, Mr. Pinheiro said: “I will continue until the end of the commission on human rights to explore the possibility of my mandate and to perform the assessment. I will continue doing what I’m supposed to do until the date of the next resolution.”

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