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World


Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

Myanmar: Departing UN rights expert still hopeful for democratic transition

United Nations, Jan 24 (UNI) An independent human rights expert on Friday said she has not given up hope for a democratic transition in Myanmar even though the country has yet to address “grave allegations” of international crimes, including possible genocide.

Yanghee Lee was speaking in Bangladesh at the end of her last official visit to the region as the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, UN news reported.
'I have lost my optimism', she said. 'How could I be optimistic with ongoing credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide having been committed in Myanmar, and with justice and accountability still not yet within reach?'
'But I still hold out hope that the promised democratic transition will proceed, as it is not too late for the Government to change the course it is currently set to. The Myanmar Government must face up to its responsibilities, obligations and duties.'
Ms Lee was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 and will deliver her final report in March.
Her mandate falls under what is known as the Council’s Special Procedures, an independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanism to address specific country situations or thematic issues.
She had conducted biannual visits to Myanmar until being denied entry from December 2017 onwards. As she was again barred from entering for her final visit, Ms. Lee travelled to Thailand and Bangladesh to gather information about the situation in Myanmar.
The end of her mission coincided with a decision by the UN’s top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ordering Myanmar to protect its Rohingya population from genocide.
More than 700,000 members of the mainly Muslim minority group fled Rakhine state in northern Myanmar nearly three years ago following a reported crackdown by the military, known as the Tatmadaw, in response to deadly attacks against police and security posts carried out by separatists known as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
Ms Lee welcomed the ICJ decision.
UNI XC JAL 1239

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