Tuesday, July 25, 2017

US diplomat calls on Myanmar to accept fact-finding mission

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has urged the Myanmar government to allow the fact-finding mission appointed by United Nations’ Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate alleged rights abuses by security personnel in northern Rakhine State in an attack last October.

The Myanmar government should allow and help the three-member fact-finding mission of the UNHRC come into the country to probe rights allegations in northern Rakhine, said a statement released by the ambassador.

“No one should face discrimination or violence because of their ethnic background or religious beliefs. It is important that the Burmese government allow this fact-finding mission to do its job,” the statement said.

In addition to allowing the fact-finding mission to do its job, the Myanmar government should help the mission carry out its tasks mandated by the UNHRC, the diplomat was quoted as saying.

“The international community cannot overlook what is happening in Burma – we must stand together and call on the government to fully cooperate with this fact-finding mission,”

The US is among the countries that supported the UNHRC resolution in March. Myanmar’s government has disassociated itself from the March resolution to send the fact-finding mission to probe alleged rights abuses by Myanmar armed forces.

This month, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs U Kyaw Tin told parliament that his ministry would prevent the mission from coming to Myanmar as the government did not agree with the rights council’s resolution.

A large-scale military operation was deployed after the October 9 attacks last year, which sparked widespread reports of human rights abuses committed by security personnel against the local Muslim community in Maungdaw, Rakhine.

The Myanmar government has so far denied the allegations, and a commission of inquiry led by Vice President U Myint Swe has yet to submit a report to President U Htin Kyaw.

The UNHRC has appointed three human rights advocates and legal experts as members of the fact-finding mission. The mission is tasked with probing the allegations of human rights abuses and will submit a full report to the 37th session in March 2018.

Meanwhile UN’s special rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee, is making her sixth visit to Myanmar from July 10 to 21.

On Tuesday, Yanghee Lee reportedly met with local residents of Kyaukphyu to discuss their concerns about the Kyaukphyu special economic zone.

She met with the advocates for the abolition of Section 66(d) of Telecommunication Law on Monday in Yangon before she flew to Rakhine. Myanmar’s government, prior to her arrival, has warned the UN special rapporteur that her official visit must not have relations with the fact-finding mission of the UNHRC.

The UN special rapporteur will present a report on her findings during her sixth visit to the UN General Assembly in October this year.

According to a government announcement, fighting also occurred Sunday involving security personnel patrolling near Tinmay village in Buthidaung township.

Three armed men attacked the security personnel, of whom two were killed and the other was captured alive, the statement said. Another man was detained for interfering with the security personnel, said the statement.