Myanmar government had banned UN rights envoy from country

Vastavam web: The UN’s rights envoy for Myanmar said today the government had banned her from the country, adding her exclusion suggests something “awful” is happening in Rakhine state.UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee had been due to visit Myanmar in January to assess the state of human rights across the country including in Rakhine, which was plunged into crisis by a military crackdown on the Rohingya minority Muslim community in late August.The UN has accused troops of ethnic cleansing and possible “elements of genocide” against the Rohingya charges the government vigorously denies as it faces intense global outrage.

“I am puzzled and disappointed by this decision by the Myanmar government,” said Lee, who is required to go to the country twice a year in order to report to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.”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,” she added.Myanmar’s government spokesman Zaw Htay said Lee had been barred because she was not unbiased.

“She is not impartial and objective while conducting her work. There is no trust on her,” the spokesman said.But Amnesty International described the ban as “outrageous”.”It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record,” said James Gomez, the rights group’s director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.Lee, who has visited Myanmar six times since 2014, has consistently sounded the alarm over the persecution of the Rohingya.The stateless group has been targeted by bouts of violence and systematically stripped of legal rights in recent decades.