UN rights en­voy says meet­ing with Myan­mar’s Ro­hingya blocked

The China Post - - ASIA - BY ROBIN MCDOW­ELL

A U.N. hu­man rights en­voy said her whirl­wind visit to Myan­mar was marred by dis­ap­point­ments: She was barred from meet­ing long-per­se­cuted Ro­hingya Mus­lims and talks with sev­eral se­nior of­fi­cials were de­nied or can­celed at the last minute. And when she met with gov­ern­ment crit­ics, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials were there, qui­etly snap­ping pic­tures.

Yanghee Lee was in the South­east Asian na­tion to as­sess the hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion ahead of Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tions — the sec­ond vote since the for­mer dic­ta­tor­ship be­gan its bumpy tran­si­tion to democ­racy just a few years ago.

But she said Fri­day the lack of ac­cess and se­ri­ous dis­rup­tions to her pro­gram made it im­pos­si­ble to ful­fill her man­date.

It was Lee’s third trip to Myan- mar since be­ing ap­pointed the coun­try’s U.N. spe­cial rap­por­teur on hu­man rights just over a year ago. The chal­lenges have in­creased with each visit. She has waded into sen­si­tive sub­jects, most no­tably the treat­ment of the coun­try’s 1.3 mil­lion Ro­hingya.

Though she asked to visit for 10 days, as she has in the past, she was only given five this time. “I am also dis­ap­pointed that re- quested meet­ings and vis­its were not granted or sud­denly changed or can­celled at the last minute with­out prior no­tice,” she said.

Lee said she had re­ceived cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion that some of her in­ter­locu­tors had been pho­tographed by se­cu­rity of­fi­cials. “I also heard that some in­di­vid­u­als I met with in pre­vi­ous vis­its were mon­i­tored, pho­tographed and later ques­tioned.”

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