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Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein on the abuse of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee

GENEVA (21 January 2015) - "The sexist, insulting language used against the UN's independent human rights expert on Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, by an influential monk during Ms. Lee's official visit to the country is utterly unacceptable. It is intolerable for UN Special Rapporteurs to be treated in this way and I call on religious and political leaders leaders in Myanmar to unequivocally condemn all forms of incitement to hatred including this abhorrent public personal attack against a UN-appointed expert.

Ms. Lee, as required by her mandate, was addressing key human rights issues and the situation of minorities in the country, particularly the Rohingya Muslim community. Indeed she expressed admiration for the commitment of inter-religious leaders to work together in the town of Lashio in Northern Shan State towards maintaining peaceful relations between communities. Ms. Lee raised serious concerns about the situation in Rakhine State and the plight of internally displaced Muslims living in camps in very difficult conditions. She also warned that a package of four bills proposed, if passed, would institutionalise discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities.

Instead of attacking Ms. Lee personally, I invite community, religious and political leaders in Myanmar to tackle the substance of her concerns."

ENDS

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

For more information and media requests, please contact Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 /rcolville@ohchr.org) or Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org)

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