UN rights envoy says meeting with Myanmar’s Rohingya blocked
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.”