Where’s the Timeframe?
covering burma and southeast asia
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Interview

Where’s the Timeframe?


By Paulo Sergio Pinheiro Wednesday, June 29, 2005


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For the benefit of the government of Myanmar, its society and the international community, it is better to have a timeframe and more clarification. What I am asking of the Myanmar authorities is a clarification about what they propose, that they reveal what they can do. If the Myanmar government can specify what they can do to the UN and the international community we can work with them so that this process towards democratisation will continue. I am not an advisor of governments, I do not have anything to say about that, my only question is first, I’d like to know about the plans of the present administration and second, what is very important in any political transition—procedure specifications about the several steps.

 

Q: How much faith do you have in the National Convention process that is taking place at the moment?

 

A: ‘Faith’ is not in political or human rights term—I don’t use ‘faith’. We just deal with facts. In the past I have expressed my opinion that I thought it would be better and a more inclusive National Convention with the participation of political parties, but at this very moment that National Convention is almost finishing. I am worried about the drafting of the constitution, what this constitution will be. I think it is a fact of reality that there is this National Convention, that it was organised with its limitations and constraints. You know the crises with some political leaders that were expelled, that were put in detention like someone that I have met over six times, Hkun Htun Oo, the chairperson of the Shan NLD. I must confess that I am very uncomfortable seeing people that I have met in prison. This for me is really very disagreeable.

 

Then we need to discuss the future, because if you don’t discuss the future we don’t ask the present administration—it will repeat this sort of violation.

 

Q: How would you assess the four years you have spent as special rapporteur on human rights to Burma?

 

A: I think I have been able to implement an incremental approach. I was able to visit several provinces; I was able to have productive meetings with human rights people, visit prisons. I think it is very important to have contact with political prisoners, they were very happy about my visits. That is my test—if the victims like it, I am doing a good job. If the victims don’t like… the only reputation I am worried about is my reputation vis-?-vis the victims of violations and again I think that I help to draw attention to problems.



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