Myanmar bars UN human rights investigator

Rohingya refugees scuffle to receive aid at a Bangladesh camp, November (CNS/Susana Vera)

The UN independent investigator into human rights in Myanmar has called for stronger international pressure to be exerted on Myanmar's military commanders after she was barred visiting the country, ABC News reports.

Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur, had been due to visit in January to assess human rights across Myanmar, including alleged abuses against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

But Myanmar had told her she was no longer welcome, she said, adding in a statement that this suggested "there must be something terribly awful happening" in the country.

"From what I see right now I'm not sure if they are feeling pressured," she said. "I'm not sure if there is the right kind of pressure placed on the military commanders and the generals."

She said it was alarming that Myanmar was strongly supported by China, which has a veto at the UN's top table in New York. Other countries including the United States and human groups were advocating targeted sanctions on the military, Ms Lee said.

"It has to work. And I'm sure the world has to find a way to make it work," she said.

"And I think the United Nations and its member states should really try to persuade China to really act towards the protection of human rights."

More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh since August 25, when attacks by Muslim insurgents on the Myanmar security forces triggered a response by the army and Buddhist vigilantes.

Surveys of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh by aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres have shown at least 6700 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state in the month after violence flared up, MSF said last week.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, has called the violence "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and said he would not be surprised if a court eventually ruled that genocide had taken place.

Ms Lee had planned to use her visit to find out procedures for the return of Rohingya refugees, and to investigate increased fighting in the Kachin and northern Shan areas of Myanmar.

The government has repeatedly denied any violations of human rights.

FULL STORY

Myanmar: UN human rights investigator barred from entering country amid Rohingya crisis (ABC News)

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