UN warns states re­ject­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tors

The Myanmar Times - - World -

COUN­TRIES are in­creas­ingly re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with the UN on hu­man rights, the world body warned, voic­ing alarm at sit­u­a­tions in dozens of states, in­clud­ing Syria, Iran and Venezuela.

“States may shut my of­fice out, but they will not shut us up; nei­ther will they blind us,” UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein said, open­ing the 32nd ses­sion of the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil.

He de­cried “an emerg­ing pat­tern” in which a grow­ing num­ber of states were re­fus­ing ac­cess to his staff and other UN rep­re­sen­ta­tives tasked with in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions of rights vi­o­la­tions in their coun­tries.

He voiced alarm at the sit­u­a­tion in war-rav­aged Syria, where no UN hu­man rights mon­i­tors have been al­lowed in since the deadly con­flict erupted in March 2011.

Mr Zeid also crit­i­cised Venezuela, which for the past two-and-a-half years has re­fused to even is­sue a visa to his rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the re­gion.

Among the con­cerns he listed were ar­bi­trary ar­rests, ex­ces­sive use of force against peace­ful protests, and a dra­matic de­cline in eco­nomic and so­cial rights that has sparked wide­spread hunger.

Iran, mean­while, had blocked all ac­cess to his staff since 2013, which he said was “par­tic­u­larly re­gret­table given the re­ports we con­tinue to re­ceive of fun­da­men­tal prob­lems with the ad­min­is­tra­tion of crim­i­nal jus­tice” in the coun­try.

Be­larus, Eritrea, North Korea and Turkey have also flatly re­fused all ac­cess by UN rights mon­i­tors, while Is­rael has re­peat­edly re­fused to co­op­er­ate with probes into the sit­u­a­tion in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries, he said.

Mr Zeid stressed that rights in­ves­ti­ga­tors would not turn a blind eye to sit­u­a­tions sim­ply be­cause they were blocked from in­ves­ti­gat­ing them on the ground.

“If ac­cess is re­fused us, we will as­sume the worst,” he said. –

Photo: EPA

UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hus­sein (left) and Am­bas­sador Choi Ky­ong-lim, pres­i­dent of the Hu­man Rights Coun­cil, at the open­ing of the 33rd ses­sion of the Hu­man Rights Coun­cil in Geneva on Septem­ber 13.

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