The United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee will visit Bangladesh soon to see the Rohingya situation in Cox’s Bazar district amid Myanmar’s continued denial to give her access to Rakhine state.
Lee, who earlier said that incidents in Rakhine state bore the ‘hallmarks of genocide’ and called for accountability in the strongest terms, will begin her Bangladesh visit on January 19.
She also planned to visit the island of Bhashan Char in Noakhali. The Bangladesh government had planned to shift the Rohingyas to the island.
The UN special rapporteur will present her findings and recommendations at the 40th session of the human rights council in March 2019.
The Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar were the victims of human rights violations committed in the midst of the violence that erupted in August 2017 forcing over 800,000 Rohingya people to take shelter in Bangladesh.
These Rohingya people had been living in camps administered by UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh with support from a slew of UN agencies and international non-government since August 2017.
On January 9, the United Nations had appealed to all sides in Myanmar to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation and to ensure humanitarian access to all people affected by the violence.
The acting resident coordinator and humanitarian coordinator for Myanmar, Knut Ostby, said that they were ‘deeply concerned’ about the situation in northern and central Rakhine state, where an estimated 4,500 people had been displaced so far due to recent fighting there.
The UN special rapporteur will visit Thailand from January 14 and then travel to Bangladesh on January 19 where she will visit Dhaka and the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, according to a message received from Geneva on Friday.
The Myanmar government had maintained its decision to cease cooperation with the special rapporteur, and refused to give her entry to Myanmar.
‘I still seek to engage with the Myanmar government and I remain committed to my mandate to monitor the situation of human rights in Myanmar. I’ll continue to meet with people from Myanmar and speak out about human rights issues that occur around the country,’ said Lee on Friday.
She will hold a news conference at a hotel in Dhaka at 5:00pm on January 24.
Head of delegation of International Committee of the Red Cross in Myanmar Stephan Sakalian said that they were concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the latest armed clashes in Rakhine, particularly as it compounded an already precarious situation.
‘ICRC teams have been very active for the past three weeks to respond to the needs of the affected communities,’ Sakalian tweeted.
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