The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will visit Bangladesh and Thailand from Jan 18, vowing to fulfil her mandate even after the Burmese government’s refusal to work with the UN official.
“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 Jan 18 to Jan 24 and Thailand thereafter until Jan 30.
In Bangladesh, Lee will visit Dhaka and refugee camps and settlements near Cox’s Bazar to meet with the refugees and community leaders. In Thailand, she will visit Bangkok, Mae Sot and Chiang Mai.
“The (Myanmar) 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.
Lee, a South Korean citizen, was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 as the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. She is independent of any government or organization and serves in her capacity.