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UN human rights official cuts short Myanmar visit over bugging

UN human rights official cuts short Myanmar visit over bugging

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar cut short his fact finding mission there today after discovering a listening device under the table during interviews with prison inmates.

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, who was scheduled to end this fifth visit to Myanmar on Wednesday, informed the country’s authorities that he had found the bug – a wireless microphone – on Saturday under the table in the room at Insein prison where he was conducting interviews. Under these circumstances, he said, he felt obliged to interrupt his mission.

Since his first mission to Myanmar, Mr. Pinheiro has sought and received from the authorities assurances that there would be no interference with the conduct of his work and standard operating procedures. These include the respect of confidentiality with regard to interviews with persons in detention and the collection of other information.

Mr. Pinheiro, who was leaving the country today, said the authorities expressed regret on learning of the incident and gave assurances that it would be fully investigated.

He reiterated that all persons cooperating with him should be free from any form of intimidation, harassment or punishment before, during and after his missions. The Myanmar authorities had reaffirmed to him their commitment to this principle, he added.