UN envoy says Myanmar denied access to Rohingyas

UN human rights investigator says Myanmar government denied access to Rakhine state, home to oppressed Rohingya Muslims

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar

Updated Aug 8, 2015

A UN human rights investigator, Yanghee Lee, said on Friday the Myanmar government denied her access to the impoverished state, home to the Rohingya Muslims.

The investigator who works on human rights in Myanmar, often urges the Myanmar government to install human rights to the Rohingya Muslim minority, which faces discrimination and restricted human rights.

Buddhist monks of Myanmar have often used derogatory terms to refer to Lee, for criticising their administration due to their human rights abuses towards the Rohingya Muslims.

Lee had planned a five-day visit to Rakhine state which is home to millions of oppressed Rohingya Muslims, but was denied entrance by the Myanmar government.

Meetings that she requested on her latest trip were also denied, changed and cancelled without her notice, she added.

"... I cannot shy away from continuing to highlight serious human rights violations and make principled but constructive comments."

Lee said earlier that Rohingya Muslims face systematic discrimination, restricted freedom of movement, restricted access to food, water, education and healthcare, as well as marriage and birth limitations.

According to the United Nations, Rohingya Muslims are the most persecuted minority in the planet.

The Myanmar government refers to the Rohingyas as Bengalis, a term used to degrade them by implying their alienness, despite the Rohingyas’ presence in the Rakhine (Arakan) state since ancient times.

Over a hundred thousand Rohingyas have been displaced since their persecution, with thousands dead in the hands of Buddhists.

Those who flee are often victims of human traffickers who abandon them at sea.

The Myanmar government does not accept responsibility for the plight of millions of Rohingyas.

The US Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters in Jakarta earlier in June that "Rohingyas need to be treated as citizens of Burma [Myanmar]."

TRTWorld and agencies