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Myanmar: UN rights expert launches new official visit to assess recent developments in the country

GENEVA (6 January 2017) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, will undertake her fifth information-gathering visit to the country from 9 to 20 January.

Ms. Lee plans to visit Kachin State (Myitkyina, Hpakant and Laiza) as well as Rakhine State (Sittwe, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw), in addition to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in order to assess recent developments.

“The events of the last few months have shown that the international community must remain vigilant in monitoring the human rights situation there,” the independent expert said.

“Apart from what is happening in Rakhine, the escalation in fighting in Kachin and Shan, with its inevitable negative impact on the situation of civilians, is causing some disquiet regarding the direction that the new Government is taking in its first year of administration,” she added.

During the 12-day visit, at the invitation of the Government, the Special Rapporteur will address a broad range of human rights issues with the authorities and various stakeholders, including political and community leaders, civil society representatives, as well as victims of human rights violations and members of the international community.

In line with her mandate from the UN Human Rights Council, Ms. Lee has proposed benchmarks to the Government ahead of her visit to help monitor and assess progress in the situation of human rights in Myanmar. By the end of her visit, she hopes to arrive at mutually agreed benchmarks with the Government, which will include priority areas for technical assistance and capacity building.

“My main objective, as Special Rapporteur, has always been to work closely with the authorities and people of Myanmar, for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country,” the expert noted.

“I look forward to the good cooperation which the Government has always extended to my mandate. I especially hope for the constructive and frank exchange of views which always take place during my visits to lead to real and meaningful change for the people of Myanmar,” she said.

Following her country visit, the human rights expert will present a report* to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.

A press conference will be held at the end of the Special Rapporteur’s visit. Details on time and venue will be announced during the course of the visit. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

Following her country visit, the human rights expert will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.

Ms. Yanghee Lee (Republic of Korea) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014 as the Special Rapporteur on situation of human rights in Myanmar. She is independent from any government or organization and serves in her individual capacity. Ms. Lee is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Coordinating Committee of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Ms. Lee served as member and chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (2003-2011). She is currently a professor at Sungkyunwan University, Seoul, and serves on the Advisory Committee of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. Ms. Lee is the founding President of International Child Rights Center.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

UN Human Rights, country page: Myanmar.

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Yangon (during the mission): Ms. Azwa Petra (+41 79 444 3781 / +95 9 259 262 084  / apetra@ohchr.org), U Aye Win, National Information Officer (+95 94 210 60343 / wina@un.org)
In Geneva (during the mission): Ms. Abeer Hashayka (+41 22 917 9407 / ahashayka@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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