The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will visit the country’s neighbours Bangladesh and Thailand from January 18, vowing to fulfil her mandate despite the Government’s refusal to work with her.
“I am determined to carry on – to the best of my ability – this very important task of helping the victims of human rights violations and abuses in Myanmar, as mandated to me by the United Nations system,” Lee said, before departing on the 13-day trip.
“By not giving me access to Myanmar and by refusing to cooperate with the mandate, my task is made that much more difficult, but I will continue to obtain first-hand accounts from victims and witnesses of human rights violations by all means possible, including by visiting neighbouring countries where some have fled,” she said.
The Special Rapporteur will visit Bangladesh from 18-24 January and Thailand after that until 30 January 2018.
In Bangladesh, Lee will visit Dhaka and refugee camps and settlements near Cox’s Bazar to meet with refugees and community leaders. In Thailand, she will visit Bangkok, Mae Sot and Chiang Mai.
“The Government has accused me of bias, while at the same time denying that human rights violations have taken place in Myanmar,” Lee said. “I would ask the authorities to rethink their position, and to put the victims first.
“I have a responsibility to speak on behalf of these victims, and I will not be deterred. This is why I am going ahead to visit neighbouring countries to reach out as far as possible to all victims and witnesses to learn of their experience.”
Following her visit, the human rights expert will present a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2018.