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UN Investigators Demand ‘Full, Unfettered’ Access to Myanmar

UN Investigators Demand ‘Full, Unfettered’ Access to MyanmarUN Investigators Demand ‘Full, Unfettered’ Access to Myanmar

UN human rights investigators on Tuesday said they needed “full and unfettered” access to Myanmar to investigate a grave and ongoing crisis, but the government renewed its rejection of the probe.

“It is important for us to see with our own eyes the sites of these alleged violations”, the head of UN-backed fact-finding mission, Marzuki Darusman, told the Human Rights Council, asking for “full and unfettered access to the country,” news outlets reported.

“There is a grave humanitarian crisis underway that requires urgent attention”, he added.

The council set up the mission in March to investigate possible violations across Myanmar, with a particular focus on alleged crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has repeatedly denounced the UN probe as unhelpful and vowed that her government would not cooperate with it.

Suu Kyi earlier Tuesday delivered a nationally televised address on the Rohingya crisis, appealing for outside observers to visit Myanmar and see the situation for themselves, in a speech aimed at appeasing an international community horrified by the army-led violence in Rakhine.

“We are concerned to hear the number of Muslims fleeing areas to Bangladesh,” she said in a televised address on Tuesday, adding that Myanmar condemns any “human rights violations” that may have exacerbated the crisis.

  Blaming Victims

Amnesty International described the speech —in which Suu Kyi only once referred to the Rohingya by name— as a “mix of untruths and victim blaming.”

Penny Green, a professor of law at Queen Mary University of London who studies the Rohingya conflict told CNN that Suu Kyi’s speech was “disingenuous” and “filled with underlying denials” that she said was “typical of the way in which state criminals behave.”

However, hours after Suu Kyi’s speech, Myanmar’s UN ambassador Htin Lynn re-asserted his government’s “position of disassociating herself from the resolution” that set up the fact-finding mission.

“We continue to believe that instituting such a mission is not a helpful course of action in solving the already-intricate Rakhine issue”, he told the council.

Darusman had upped the pressure on Myanmar to grant access, arguing it was “in the government’s interest and in the interests of the people of Myanmar to communicate their views and evidence directly to the (UN) mission.”

He added that the probe “had urgently dispatched a team to Bangladesh”, where more than 410,000 Rohingya have fled army operations in recent weeks.

The UN investigator, an Indonesian national and veteran of past UN investigations including a ground-breaking report on slave labor in North Korea, warned that Myanmar had the “danger signs” of a crisis that could worsen.

He noted reports that some in majority Buddhist Myanmar had spread propaganda that “compared the Rohingya to pests”.

 

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