UN Rights Expert Heads to Myanmar to Assess Rohingya Situation

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The reports and images of widespread atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar have sparked concerns around the world.
The reports and images of widespread atrocities against the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar have sparked concerns around the world.

“The events of the last few months have shown that the international community must remain vigilant in monitoring the human rights situation there,” said Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

GENEVA (IINA) – An independent UN expert will assess the human rights situation in Myanmar starting next week, following increasing concerns about civilians in Kachin State and the escalating violence in Rakhine State.

“The events of the last few months have shown that the international community must remain vigilant in monitoring the human rights situation there,” said Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

The 12-day visit, at the invitation of the government, will include meetings with political and community leaders, civil society, as well as victims of human rights violations and members of the international community.

Starting on January 9, this will be Lee’s fifth visit to Myanmar. She plans to visit Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza in Kachin State, where civilians are caught in fighting between the Myanmar army and an armed group.

“The escalation in fighting in Kachin and Shan, with its inevitable negative impact on the situation of civilians, is causing some disquiet regarding the direction that the new government is taking in its first year of administration,” Lee said.

She will also gather information in Sittwe, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw in Rakhine State, as well as Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon.

Last month, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that he was deeply disappointed by a lack of access to some of the worst areas in northern Rakhine, particularly given numerous alarming allegations of rights violations, including killings, rapes and the burning of homes belonging to the Rohingya Muslim minority group.

A report from the visit will be presented in March to the UN Human Rights Council, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system.

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