The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar is calling for urgent action by the Government there to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country.
Speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar Yanghee Lee said: “the magnitude of violence that these families have witnessed and experienced is far more extensive than I had originally speculated.”
During her visit, she met members of the Rohingya population who had fled to Bangladesh after 9 October 2016 when the Myanmar Border Guard Police facilities were attacked and reprisals followed.
The expert reported several allegations of horrific attacks including the slitting of some people’s throats, indiscriminate shootings, houses being set alight with people tied up inside and very young children being thrown into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence.
In addition to the alleged human rights violations occurring within the context of the security operations that followed the 9 October attacks, Ms. Lee also highlighted how the Government of Myanmar appears to have taken, and continues to take, actions which discriminate against the Rohingya and make their lives even more difficult.
The Special Rapporteur said: “I urge the Government of Myanmar to immediately cease the discrimination that the community continues to face, to act now to prevent any further serious rights violations and to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into those already alleged to have occurred.”
“We all owe it to those I have met and their fellow community members to do everything in our power to ensure this is done and to give the Rohingya people reason to hope again,” she concluded.
The Special Rapporteur will present her full report to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 March 2017. The report will be posted online.
Professor Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea) 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. Ms. Lee is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Ms. Lee served as member and chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2003-2011). She is currently a professor at Sungkyunwan University, Seoul, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. Ms. Lee is the founding President of International Child Rights Center.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.
UN Human Rights, country page: Myanmar.
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