Friday, January 24th, 2020

UN official for int’l ad hoc tribunal

Published 9:39 pm | January 24, 2020

Online Desk ; The UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Prof. Yanghee Lee, yesterday said that Russia and China have played a shameful role in trying to protect Myanmar at the Security Council over the Myanmar army’s serious human rights violations on Rohingyas. Regarding the order of the International Court Justice (ICJ), Prof. Lee said Myanmar should comply with whatever decision comes from the court and the international community should continue to put pressure on Myanmar to prevent it from evading responsibility. She came up with the statement at a press conference in a city hotel while disclosing a report on the human rights situation in Myanmar.

“It’s shameful that Russia and China are still trying to protect Myanmar even in the face of all the evidence that has come to light. Come and look at Cox’s Bazar! These are not fake and fabricated news. China is trying to be one of the global leaders. But you cannot be one without respecting human rights. And for respecting human rights, you have to seek justice and accountability for all human rights violations,” said Prof. Lee. On what can be done internationally to address the Rohingya crisis, she said: “Unfortunately, the Security Council has failed to refer the situation of Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. We must pressurise it in this regard. The Security Council is not fulfilling its obligations and responsibilities set forward under the Charter.”

Drawing attention to why the UN is failing to convince Russia and China despite any visible evidence, Prof. Lee said: “Human rights advocates are trying to convince Russia and China to change their minds. It’s not a matter of failing to convince them. I think the Security Council needs a policy reform on as to how it deals with serious human rights violations.” Asked about the order of ICJ, Porf. Lee said: “I hope that the Myanmar government will comply with the decisions and recommendations that the court may make. The international community should stay focused on the topic so that Myanmar will not evade this responsibility.”

About doing business in Myanmar, she said: “Considering the serious violation of human rights in Myanmar, we should be aware of the situation over there while doing business.” Prof. Lee would submit her full report on the human rights situation in Myanmar to the UN in March this year. In reply to a query on how she is convinced that her report would be impartial, she said: “I’m absolutely convinced that the report would be based on credible facts. It would be unbiased and impartial according to code of conduct. The only regret I have is that Myanmar is not allowing me to visit that country. I have not had the opportunity to engage with the government authorities over there. This is absolutely their loss as they deny access to the UN special rapporteur.”

Prof. Lee expressed her deep frustration as she has been repeatedly denied by the Myanmar authorities to enter that country after December 2017. “Myanmar’s denial of access has not dissuaded me from doing everything I can to impartially report to the international community. I will provide accurate first-hand information that has been provided to me during my visits to the region,” she said.

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