UN’s Lee to visit Rohingya camps

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 01:00, Jan 10,2018 | Updated: 01:05, Jan 10,2018

 
 

UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Yanghee Lee will visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar next week as the Myanmar government denied her access to the country and withdrew cooperation in discharging her responsibilities.
She is set to reach Dhaka on a five-day official tour starting on January 18, officials have said.
Most of the time during her visit, Lee would be in Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, they said.
She will also call on foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque to discuss Rohingya issues.
Lee was due to visit Myanmar in January to assess the state of human rights countrywide, including the human rights abuses against Rohingha Muslims in Rakhine State, according to the United Nations Office in Geneva.
The Myanmar authorities informed her that all access to the country ‘has been denied’ and cooperation extended to her ‘withdrawn’, the UNOG said in a release on December 20.
‘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,’ Lee said in a statement, the decision of non-cooperation was made after she visited Myanmar in last July.
The special rapporteur’s mandate requires visits to Myanmar a year, in order to report to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Lee stressed the need, in her previous reports, for conducting a full-scale investigation under an independent international commission for probing violation of rights of citizens in Rakhine state and other places in Myanmar.
Lee said she found allegations, while talking to Rohingya people in Rakhine of Myanmar and Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, of mass killings, burning of entire villages, systematic sexual violence and deliberate destruction of food and sources of food allegedly by security forces of Myanmar.
Myanmar believes that Lee’s end-of-mission statement in July was ‘biased and unfair’.
Over 6,55,500 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing, between August 25 and January 7. Several international authorities denounced the operations as genocide.
The military-controlled Myanmar government committed, according to the November 23 ‘arrangement’ to take back over 7,40,000 Rohingyas who crossed over the border since October last year.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the total number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to over 10,74,000 till January 7, according to estimates by UN agencies.
Myanmar authorities had constantly refused her access to some areas of the country citing security concerns during her six visits to the country.

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