YANGON, Myanmar March 24 —
A visiting U.N. human rights envoy on Monday suspended his
mission to Myanmar after finding a bugging device while conducting
confidential interviews with political prisoners.
The envoy, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro of Brazil, said he found the bug
while talking to political prisoners in Insein prison outside Yangon
Pinheiro told reporters he was leaving Yangon later Monday, two
days ahead of schedule.
"I think that was a very serious incident and my untimely
departure is an expression of my anger and frustration," he said,
pounding the table with his fist. "I hope the government will
demonstrate its willingness to continue to cooperate with the
commission on human rights."
The envoy said he found a wireless microphone under the table in
the room where he was conducting an interview.
"The authorities expressed regret on learning of the incident,"
according to a statement from the United Nations. "They gave the
assurance that the incident would be investigated in full."
Pinheiro arrived in Yangon on Wednesday to investigate
allegations of human rights abuses and evaluate the conditions of an
estimated 1,000 political prisoners in the nation also known as
A foreign diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said
Pinheiro was "shocked and upset" when the device was found after he
and his two colleagues heard a strange noise under the table.
Before interviewing the prisoners, Pinheiro had assured each
person he or she could speak freely, the diplomat said.
The visit was one of a series of visits to compile a report
scheduled to be delivered to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in
Geneva at the end of the month.
Myanmar's junta has also faced criticism for failing to make
progress in its reconciliation process with opposition leader Aung
San Suu Kyi. Her party won the 1990 general elections but was never
allowed to take power. Critics say the junta is not serious about
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