[JURIST] The UN announced [UN News Centre report] on Friday that Yanghee Lee [official profile], the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, will travel to the country to assess the human rights situation following concerns over the safety of refugees in Kachin State and reports of increased violence in Rakhine State. During her 12-day stay, Lee will visit three locations [press release] in the Kachin State where more than 2,000 refugees [RFA report] have recently been forced out of their camps due to mortar shelling by the Myanmar military. Lee will also visit numerous locations in the Rakhine State to investigate allegations of human rights violations against the Rohingya minority group in northern Rakhine State. This trip will mark Lee's 5th visit to Myanmar during her tenure as Special Rapporteur. Lee's findings will be presented before the UN Human Rights Council in March.
Human rights violations have been on the forefront of Myanmar's new democratic government since ending a decades-old military rule. In June a UN expert presented [JURIST report] a report on religious, free market, political, and nationalist or cultural fundamentalism, stating that fundamentalist intolerance is growing throughout the globe and is directly contributing to infringements of the rights to association and peaceful assembly. In April UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed [JURIST report] shock at the increasing number of children recruited and killed in armed conflicts in several countries. The government of Myanmar alone released [JURIST report] 46 underage child recruits from the military in March as part of a UN join action plan made in 2012. In May Human Rights Watch urged [JURIST report] the Myanmar Parliament to reconsider a proposed law that they say has the advocacy organization says has the potential to limit free expression and peaceful assembly. Also in May US Secretary of State John Kerry offered support to Myanmar's newly democratic government and urged [JURIST report] the country to push more democratic reform and address human rights issues.