Rapporteur 'disappointed' UN rights panel divided on Myanmar


A U.N. expert on Myanmar says she's "disappointed" at the lack of "appetite" at the Human Rights Council to back her call for the creation of Commission of Inquiry into alleged crimes against the Rohingya minority.

Special rapporteur Yanghee Lee, speaking to The Associated Press after addressing the 47-member council in Geneva on Monday, said she's hearing of a difference of opinion "within even the European Union" about the best path forward in dealing with rights abuses in Myanmar.

"I am afraid that I have been a little bit disappointed because I don't think there is an appetite or a push for a Commission of Inquiry from the normal sponsors of the resolution" and by countries that are the "normal players" in calls for such investigative bodies, Lee said.

She said a domestic investigative panel focusing on Rakhine state was "flawed" and another led by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan didn't have an all-encompassing mandate.

Lee has been denied access to parts of Myanmar that she hoped to visit, and expressed concern about violence affecting civilians in Kachin and Shan states.

Based in part on her 12-day trip to Myanmar in January, a 25-page report issued by her office this month cited "continued and escalating violence" in those and other states, and said Lee had been told 'the situation is currently worse than at any point in the past few years."

Myanmar's military, under international pressure over alleged abuses against members of the country's Muslim Rohingya minority, has said official investigations failed to substantiate most accusations.

Lee said she's been "hearing of the discovery of mass graves and things of that nature," and appealed to the Myanmar government to let investigators like her "leave no stones unturned"

"If these allegations are indeed exaggerated allegations, everyone needs to know," she told the AP. "If these allegations are true, I think Myanmar needs to know because this will be the obstacle to them fully reforming and transforming into a fully democratic society."

The estimated 1 million Rohingya in Buddhist-majority Myanmar face official and social discrimination, and are mostly seen as immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh living illegally in the country. Many fled their homes during communal violence in 2012, and over 100,000 live in refugee camps.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Disney workers' union says $10 minimum wage doesn't make the magic happen
Disney workers' union says $10 minimum wage doesn't make the magic happen

Citing an increasing cost of living and relatively stagnant pay, workers at Disney parks in Central Florida are working with the company to negotiate a higher minimum wage. Travis Joyner is a driver at Animal Kingdom’s safari ride, one of the park’s most popular attractions. He enjoys his job, but has a hard time making ends meet while...
Justin Bieber apologizes to fans for cancelling tour, says ‘everything’s fine’
Justin Bieber apologizes to fans for cancelling tour, says ‘everything’s fine’

Justin Bieber has a message for his fans after announcing the cancellation of the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour Monday. The singer was seen in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, hours after the announcement, TMZ reported. Video recorded by paparazzi shows him being asked about the cancellation and if he was OK. “Yeah, everything&rsquo...
Oklahoma teacher captures worldwide attention, raises thousands after panhandling
Oklahoma teacher captures worldwide attention, raises thousands after panhandling

A teacher’s act to get Oklahoma lawmakers’ attention has now been recognized worldwide. Teresa Danks is a third-grade teacher in the Tulsa Public Schools system. As a result of serious education budget cuts, Danks said she is now spending between $2,000 and $3,000 of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students. Last week, Danks...
Lacking Social Security income, Pulse nightclub shooter's widow asks court for defense funds
Lacking Social Security income, Pulse nightclub shooter's widow asks court for defense funds

In several documents filed and unsealed Monday in a federal court in Orlando, new details have come to light in the case against the widow of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. Noor Salman, who is being charged with helping her husband plan and carry out the Pulse attack -- which left 49 dead and dozens injured -- has been in jail since being arrested...
Eclipse could drain North Carolina solar farm of energy
Eclipse could drain North Carolina solar farm of energy

Duke Energy built the biggest solar farm in the Charlotte, North Carolina area in rural Union County, and it just went online in April. The solar eclipse on Aug. 21 could affect the solar farm, which spans 500 acres and supplies power to customers in Monroe. The nearly full eclipse will bring that energy production to a near-halt, at a time when Duke...
More Stories