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UN Envoy Meets with Burma's Ethnic Minorities - 2003-11-07


A United Nations human rights envoy has met with representatives of ethnic minorities in military-ruled Burma.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who is on a six-day mission to investigate human rights abuses, has not said what was discussed at today's (Friday's) confidential meetings.

On Thursday, Mr. Pinheiro met with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Rangoon, after visiting three senior members of her National League for Democracy party who are being detained by the government.

Mr. Pinheiro is the second high-ranking UN official allowed by Burma's military to see Aung San Suu Kyi. The other was the UN special envoy to Burma, Razali Ismail, last month.

Details of Mr. Pinheiro's talks with the opposition leader have not been revealed.

Movements by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate have been restricted since a clash between her followers and government groups in May.

During his mission, Mr. Pinheiro is also expected press the ruling generals for answers to allegations that the armed forces have raped women in Shan state, where a separatist rebellion is being waged.

Earlier this week the U.N. envoy met with several prisoners at Rangoon's notorious Insein prison. He says one of his top priorities is to win the release of up to 1300 political prisoners being held in Burmese jails.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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