Where’s the Timeframe?
covering burma and southeast asia
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Where’s the Timeframe?

By Paulo Sergio Pinheiro Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Pinheiro’s plea to the Burmese regime


Effectively barred from carrying out his responsibilities in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, says the UN could nevertheless work with the Rangoon regime if the junta clarified its aims. Brazilian-born Pinheiro spoke to The Irrawaddy during a visit to Bangkok.



Question: Having not been able to visit Burma since November 2003, how do you feel about your role as UN special rapporteur on human rights?


Answer: When countries don’t let a special rapporteur come into the country, I think that this decision doesn’t serve the interests of the government, because in fact this mandate of special rapporteur is an interesting role—I am not an NGO, I am not a UN employee, I am not an employee of any regional bloc. Then this hinders the work of the Commission on Human Rights, because it’s the Commission that decides to appoint a special rapporteur and member states are supposed to cooperate. So this hampers my efficiency and hampers also the best interests, not only of the people, but of the government.


Q: What reason has the Burmese government given for not now allowing you into the country?


A: I cannot interpret the thoughts of the Myanmar [Burma] government. But they never refused my visit, they answered that the government is trying to find mutually convenient dates, but I expressed to them that I am ready to go to Myanmar any time. They just have to call me and I will take a plane.


Q: In the last 18 months, during which time you haven’t been able to make a visit to Burma, have you reconsidered your position as special rapporteur on human rights?


A: Well, I have said this in the past because I have been so angry about not being able to visit.


Q: Do you have a timetable agreed with the Burmese government concerning a visit to the country?


A: No. I always need to return to the country, as in the past, before my report. I present two reports, the Commission’s and the General Assembly.

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