GENEVA (16 January 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will visit the country’s neighbours Bangladesh and Thailand from January 18, vowing to fulfill her mandate despite the Government’s refusal to work with her.
“I am determined to carry on – to the best of my ability – this very important task of helping the victims of human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar, as mandated to me by the United Nations system,” Lee said, before departing on the 13-day trip.
“By not giving me access to Myanmar and by refusing to cooperate with the mandate, my task is made that 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,” she said.
The Special Rapporteur will visit Bangladesh from 18-24 January and Thailand thereafter until 30 January 2018.
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.
“The Government 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.
“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.
Ms. 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 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
For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Bangladesh (during the mission): Ms. Shilla Kim (+41 75 412 7295/ email@example.com)
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 9179383/ firstname.lastname@example.org)
View the original press release HERE.