UN rapporteur determined to follow up thwarted mission
Published : 18 Jan 2018, 12:19
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar Yanghee Lee begins weeklong visit on Thursday vowing to fulfill her mandate despite the Myanmar government’s refusal to work with her.
The Special Rapporteur, after her Bangladesh visit from January 18-24, will visit Thailand until January 30.
In Bangladesh, Lee will visit Dhaka and refugee camps and settlements near Cox’s Bazar to meet with refugees and community leaders. In Thailand, she will visit Bangkok, Mae Sot and Chiang Mai, according to a statement UNB received here from Geneva on Tuesday.
“The Government (of Myanmar) has accused me of bias, while at the same time denying that human rights violations have taken place in Myanmar,” Lee said. “I would ask the authorities to rethink their position, and to put the victims first.
The UN envoy said she is determined to carry on - to the best of her ability - this very important task of helping the victims of human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar, as mandated to her by the United Nations system.
Lee, before embarking upon the 13-day trip, said, “By not giving me access to Myanmar and by refusing to cooperate with the mandate, my task is made much more difficult, but I will continue to obtain first-hand accounts from victims and witnesses of human rights violations by all means possible, including by visiting neighbouring countries where some have fled.
“I have a responsibility to speak on behalf of these victims, and I will not be deterred. This is why I am going ahead to visit neighbouring countries to reach out as far as possible to all victims and witnesses to learn of their experience.”
Following her visit, the human rights expert will present a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.
Yanghee Lee was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 as the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in Myanmar.
She is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity.
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