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UN expert on Myanmar calls on Government to clarify reports of clashes in northern Rakhine State

GENEVA (17 January 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, today urged the country’s authorities to investigate and clarify reports about violent clashes between security forces and Rohingya Muslim residents in Du Chee Yar Tan village in Maungdaw, Rakhine State. 

“I urge the Government to clarify what has happened. Quick and transparent action can help to prevent further violence,” Mr. Ojea Quintana said. “If deaths and injuries have occurred, the Myanmar Government must, under international law, conduct a prompt, effective and impartial investigation and hold the perpetrators of any human rights violations to account.”

The human rights expert has received reports of Rohingya Muslims being killed and injured as well as a security official being killed following a security operation in the village in Maungdaw, and of Rohingya men, women and children being arrested following the clashes.

“Myanmar authorities must respect the due process rights of anyone arrested and detained, which includes access to legal counsel, and address the specific risks faced by women and children in detention,” he said.

“Given the previous concerns I have raised about torture and ill-treatment of persons in detention in Maungdaw, I urge the authorities to provide access to independent monitoring groups to assess the treatment of those being detained,” the Special Rapporteur stressed.    

In his last report* to the UN General Assembly, Mr. Ojea Quintana highlighted the seriousness of the human rights situation in Rakhine State, which was posing one of the most serious threats to the reform process.

Mr. Tomás Ojea Quintana (Argentina) was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2008. As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. He has worked at the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. He was also the Executive Director of the OHCHR Programme for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Bolivia. Most recently, Mr. Ojea Quintana has represented the Argentinean NGO “Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo” in cases concerning child abduction during the military régime. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/CountriesMandates/MM/Pages/SRMyanmar.aspx

(*) Read the Special Rapporteur final report to the UN General Assembly (October 2013): http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/MM/A-68-397_en.pdf

UN Human Rights, country page – Myanmar: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/MMIndex.aspx

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