UN expert urges action to protect Rohingya population in Myanmar
GENEVA (27 February) – The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar is calling for urgent action by the Government there to end the suffering of the Rohingya population in the country. Speaking at the end of a four-day visit to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar Yanghee Lee said: “the magnitude of violence that these families have witnessed and experienced is far more extensive than I had originally speculated.” During her visit, she met members of the Rohingya population who had fled to Bangladesh after 9 October 2016 when the Myanmar Border Guard Police facilities were attacked and reprisals followed. The expert reported several allegations of horrific attacks including the slitting of some people’s throats, indiscriminate shootings, houses being set alight with people tied up inside and very young children being thrown into the fire, as well as gang rapes and other sexual violence. In addition to the alleged human rights violations occurring within the context of the security operations that followed the 9 October attacks, Ms. Lee also highlighted how the Government of Myanmar appears to have taken, and continues to take, actions which discriminate against the Rohingya and make their lives even more difficult. The Special Rapporteur said: “I urge the Government of Myanmar to immediately cease the discrimination that the community continues to face, to act now to prevent any further serious rights violations and to conduct prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations into those already alleged to have occurred.” “We all owe it to those I have met and their fellow community members to do everything in our power to ensure this is done and to give the Rohingya people reason to hope again,” she concluded. The Special Rapporteur will present her full report to the UN Human Rights Council on 13 March 2017.