UN rights expert warns about possible reprisals in Myanmar

Geneva [Switzerland], Jan. 25 : The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has warned about possible reprisals against the people she met during her recent visit to Myanmar from January 9 to 21.

Lee noted that she was particularly struck by the fear of some she spoke to "who were afraid of what would happen to them after talking to me." "There is one word that has hung heavily on my mind during this visit - reprisals," the UN News Centre quoted Lee as saying in a press statement on Tuesday.

She said she is deeply concerned about those with whom she met and spoke, "those critical of the government, those defending and advocating for the rights of others, and those who expressed their thoughts and opinions which did not conform to the narrative of those in the position of power." Moreover, she noted the increasing use of section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law against many, "merely for speaking their minds." "It is particularly alarming to learn that the security forces' counter operations in the villages of Maungdaw north in Rakhine state have reportedly been resumed following a brief lull, with raids conducted in several villages including nearby the villages I visited," stressed Lee.

The Special Rapporteur regretted that due to security reasons, she was only allowed to go to Myitkyina, and not Laiza and Hpakant in Kachin, stating that the situation "at the northern borders is deteriorating." A report from the visit will be presented in March to the UN Human Rights Council.

Source: ANI