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Myanmar Bars UN Human Rights Investigator

Myanmar Bars UN Human Rights InvestigatorMyanmar Bars UN Human Rights Investigator

The government of Myanmar on Wednesday announced that it would not cooperate with or grant access to a United Nations special rapporteur who was due to assess human rights abuses in the country, including abuses against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

Yanghee Lee, who was expected to visit the country in January, has been denied access to Myanmar for the duration of her tenure, DW reported.

Lee said the Myanmar government had repeatedly denied that violations of human rights were occurring throughout Myanmar, particularly in Rakhine State.

“They have said that they have nothing to hide, but their lack of cooperation with my mandate and the fact-finding mission suggests otherwise,” said Lee. “This declaration of non-cooperation with my mandate can only be viewed as a strong indication that there must be something terribly awful happening in Rakhine, as well as in the rest of the country.”

The Myanmar government cited Lee’s end-of-mission statement in July as the reason for not cooperating. It said the statement was biased and unfair.

In the July statement, Lee said “As well as increasing restrictions on my access, individuals who meet with me continue to face intimidation, including being photographed, questioned before and after meetings and in one case even followed. This is unacceptable.”

“The general situation for the Rohingya has hardly improved since my last visit in January, and has become further complicated in the north of Rakhine,” the statement said. “I continue to receive reports of violations allegedly committed by security forces during operations. There also appear to be incidents of Rohingya being targeted by unknown assailants for applying to be verified as a citizen.”

Myanmar’s government is also not cooperating with the Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, established in March 2017. It has denied visas to people on the team.

More than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to escape violence in Rakhine State, and on Thursday last week Doctors Without Borders released a field study that found at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed during a crackdown by Myanmar’s security forces between August and September this year.

 

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