POST TIME: 11 January, 2019 05:33:20 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 11 January, 2019 07:08:54 PM
UN human rights expert Lee to visit Rohingya camps
Access to Myanmar denied; she plans to visit Bhashan Char
Independent Online Desk

UN human rights expert Lee to visit Rohingya camps

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee. File photo

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee will visit Bangladesh soon to see Rohingya situation in Cox’s Bazar district amid Myanmar’s continued denial to her access to Rakhine State, reports UNB.

Lee, who earlier said incidents in Rakhine State bear the “hallmarks of genocide” and called for accountability in the strongest terms, will begin her Bangladesh visit on January 19.

She also plans to visit the island of Bhashan Char in Noakhali. The Bangladesh government has planned to shift Rohingyas to the island.

The UN Special Rapporteur will present her findings and recommendations at the 40th session of the Human Rights Council in March 2019.

The Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar are the victims of human rights violations committed in the midst of the violence that erupted in August 2017 forcing over 800,000 Rohingya people to take shelter in Bangladesh.

These Rohingya people have been living in camps administered by UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh with support from a slew of UN agencies and international NGOs since August 2017.

On January 9, the United Nations has appealed to all sides in Myanmar to intensify efforts to find a peaceful solution to the situation and to ensure humanitarian access to all people affected by the violence.

The acting Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Myanmar, Knut Ostby said they are “deeply concerned” about the situation in northern and central Rakhine State, where an estimated 4,500 people have been displaced so far due to recent fighting there.

The UN Special Rapporteur will visit Thailand from January 14 and then travel to Bangladesh on January 19 where she will visit Dhaka and Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, according to a message received from Geneva on Friday.

The Myanmar government has maintained its decision to cease cooperation with the Special Rapporteur, and refused her entry to Myanmar.

“I still seek to engage with the Myanmar government and I remain committed to my mandate to monitor the situation of human rights in Myanmar. I’ll continue to meet with people from Myanmar and speak out about human rights issues that occur around the country,” said Lee on Friday.

She will hold a news conference on January 24 at 5pm at a city hotel.

ICRC Head of Delegation in Myanmar Stephan Sakalian said they are concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the latest armed clashes in Rakhine, particularly as it compounds an already precarious situation. 

“ICRC teams have been very active for the past three weeks to respond to needs of affected communities,” Sakalian tweeted.