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Military Threatens Rohingya Villagers amid the Visit of UN Human Rights Rapporteur

By Rohingya Eye and Rohingya Mirror

January 14, 2017

Maungdaw — The Myanmar military have threatened and ordered the Rohingya villagers in northern Maungdaw to refrain from meeting Ms. Yanghee Lee, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, who is currently on a four-day visit in the violence-hit Arakan State, it has been reported.

The locals in Northern Maungdaw desperately willing meet the U.N. Human Rights Rapporteur also express fears of more physical and sexual violence by the military after she leaves the region as a military commander has threatened the locals with reprisals in case of meeting with her.

“The commander of the Battalion 551 in Northern Maungdaw summoned the administrator of ‘Oo Shye Kyar’ village and warned him to not let any of his villagers meet with any outsider (referring to Ms. Yanghee Lee) in the absence of his knowledge/permission and ordered him (The village administrator) to ask other village administrators in the region to do the same. He said failures to follow his order would result in significant punishments” said U Aye Myint, a human rights activist based in Maungdaw.

During the time of Tomas Quintana, the former UN Special Rapporteur to Myanmar and predecessor of Ms. Yang, the Myanmar military and other security forces in Arakan used similar same terror tactics to suppress the voices of the victims of the state-sponsored violence back in 2012.

Ms. Yanghee Lee arrived in Sittwe (Akyab) on Friday evening (Jan 13) and met the Rohingya elders in Quarter and this (Jan 14 morning), she visited Koetankauk and Shilhali villages in Rathedaung Township, where she visited the Koetankauk BGP post and met with local villagers and displaced people (IDP) and also with some local Rakhines in the region.

This afternoon, she left Rathedaung for northern Maungdaw and after that, she is due to visit Buthidaung Prison on January 15.

In Northern Maungdaw, she is set to visit the Rohingya villages — such as Kyikanpyin, Wapeik, Kyet Yoe Pyin and Ywa Ma etc — that have come under indiscriminate attacks of the Myanmar military since October 2016 and ‘Shwe Baho’ monastery in Maungdaw.

After visiting ‘Shwe Zedi’ monastery and the Sittwe Prison tomorrow (on January 16), she will conclude her visit to observe human rights situation in Arakan State.

Ms. Yanghee Lee is on a 12-day visit to Myanmar to assess human rights situation in the country. Earlier, she visited the war-torn Kachin state, where Burmese military have been waging wars with Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and assaulting civilians for years. She will submit the reports of her assessments on human rights situation in Myanmar to UN Human Rights Assembly in March, 2017.

Update: in Koetankauk and Shilhali in Rathedaung, Ms. Yanghee Lee only selectively met with some Rohingya women. No male members of the Rohingya community were not able to approach her. 

However, the local Rohingyas are pretty confident that she got some true accounts from the women of the atrocity crimes by the Myanmar armed forces against the Rohingya community.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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